As men age, their risk of developing prostate cancer increases. And while prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death for American men, when detected early, the five-year survival rate is 100 percent, while the ten-year survival rate is an astounding 98 percent. How can a leading cause of mortality have such an incredibly high survival rate? The answer is simple. As men learn how to protect their prostate health, the risk decreases while treatment options for those detected early increase. Here are just a few ways to protect your prostate health.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet includes whole grains, healthy fats, lean meats, fruits and vegetables. Healthy food groups have natural anti-inflammatory properties, which help keep a prostate healthy. While there are foods that can help your prostate, eating the wrong foods can actually increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. Start by avoiding caffeine (which serves as a diuretic), sodium, alcohol (which stimulates urine production), and red meat (which increases your risk of prostate enlargement).
Get Some Vitamin D
Vitamin D can decrease your risk of developing prostate cancer, and may actually slow down the growth of cancerous cells. The best way to get vitamin D is to soak up the sun. For best results, wear your sunscreen and combine your sunlight with a morning walk, which brings us to the next point.
Research has found that men who lead sedentary lives – those who spend 40 hours a week at their desks or driving all day – are twice as likely to develop symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) — a condition in which the prostate becomes enlarged – as men who exercise, even casually. For example, walking just three hours a week was found to reduce the risk of developing BPH by 10 percent. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and spend some time outdoors! Even small changes can have big benefits on your health.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Men who are overweight have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. If you have a body mass index of 30, that’s a sign that you need to lose weight. You would not need an extreme physical exercise program to achieve this. Start slowly by eating a healthy low-calorie diet and engaging in physical activity every day through walking or gardening or simply staying active.
Know your History
One in five cases of prostate cancer is inherited through genes – that means that a mutated gene has been passed on from one generation to the next. Your risk increases further if three or more immediate relatives have had prostate cancer. By knowing your family’s medical history, you can help your doctor piece together your story and determine if you are at a higher risk of prostate issues.
Know the Signs
Knowing the signs of prostate cancer is important to maintain a healthy prostate. If you find yourself having trouble urinating, specifically, a frequent urge to pass urine at night or a experience a weak, painful or interrupted stream; or if you find blood in your urine, see your urologist. Nagging pain in the back, pelvis or hips, as well as painful ejaculation are also indicators of poor prostate health and merit seeing your urologist right away.
Early Detection in Phoenix
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, have a family history of prostate cancer or have never been screened, it’s time to take control of your prostate health. If you live in or around the greater Phoenix area, Dr. Desiderio Avila, Jr., of Ironwood Urology can help with early detection and treatments. Dr. Avila is a board-certified urologist who specializes in complex issues regarding sexual health, infertility, hormone imbalance, and more. If you have concerns about your prostate health or any other issue, call Dr. Avila today at (480) 961-2323 or request an appointment.