The United States has been witness to a dramatic decline in mortality from prostate cancer over the past three decades. Although there is a lot of speculation as to why this is the case, a major factor appears to be the use of PSA in prostate cancer screening. Especially supporting this concept is the fact that countries that have not implemented PSA based screening have not witnessed a similar decline.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in men following lung cancer. The risk of prostate cancer is fairly negligible below the age of 40 and still fairly low until age 50. Some medical societies have recommended screening men at increased risk for prostate cancer at age 40 and then to begin routine screening at age 50 or 55.
Risk factors for prostate cancer include:
- Advanced age. Unfortunately, the older one gets, the higher the risk of prostate cancer.
- Family history. A strong family history, particularly history of a first degree relative such as a father or brother having the disease significantly increases one’s risk.
- Being African American: For unknown reasons, African-American males are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer at a younger age and have a more aggressive form of the disease.
What can you do to manage your risk of prostate cancer?
- Get screened. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the American Cancer Society recommends baseline PSA screening (and prostate exam) for healthy men at age 50. Men who are at increased risk for prostate cancer may want to consider initial screening at age 40.
- Adjust your diet. Foods higher in fats from red meat may confer more risk. Avoid foods high in sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol, refined sugar and trans fat. Place more focus on foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon or almonds and fats from vegetable sources such as olive oil or peanuts. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Eating right doesn’t just lower your risk for prostate cancer; it can also improve your overall health.
- Exercise: Like diet, regular exercise can lower your overall cancer risk and add to your energy and longevity.