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What men can do to help lower the risk of prostate cancer



Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian men. About 1 in 8 men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. You can take steps to help lower your risk of developing prostrate cancer.

About prostate cancer

The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. It is located just below the bladder and is about the size of a large walnut.  Prostate cancer can begin growing in the cells of the prostate and potentially spread to other parts of the body.

What increases my risk of getting prostate cancer?

Some factors that may increase your risk of prostate cancer include:

  • Age (the risk increases after 50 years of age and it’s most often diagnosed in men over 65)
  • Having a family history of prostate cancer
  • Eating a diet high in fat
  • Eating a diet high in red or processed meats
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being of African descent

How can I decrease my risk?

Sometimes cancer occurs for reasons outside our control, but you can take steps to decrease your risk.  Read Lowering your Risk of Cancer for tips on managing your weight, eating healthy, being physically active and more.

How about foods high in lycopene and selenium?

Foods high in lycopene and selenium may help to prevent prostate cancer. Choose foods rich in lycopene like tomatoes and tomato products, watermelon, grapefruit, red peppers, persimmons and apricots.  Eat foods rich in selenium like legumes (beans, peas an lentils), nuts (especially Brazil nuts), seeds, eggs, fish, seafood, chicken and turkey.

Should I take supplements?

No. Eating a variety of foods is the best way to get vitamins, minerals and other cancer fighting compounds. If you have trouble getting enough calcium from foods, talk to your health care professional about a calcium supplement. You need 1000 mg of calcium if you are 19 to 70 years of age and 1200 mg if you are over 70. Getting more calcium than you need may increase your risk of prostate cancer. Speak with a doctor or dietitian if you are thinking about taking vitamin, mineral or herbal supplements.

Should I get screened for prostate cancer?

Speak to your health care professionals about getting screened.  Your doctor may recommend specific tests to assess your risk. Learn more about whether you should be screened.

Bottom line

Managing your weight, eating healthy and being physically active will help lower your risk of prostate cancer as well as other cancers and chronic diseases. If you have questions about prostate cancer, speak to your health care professional. Call an EatRight Ontario Registered Dietitian at 1-877-510-510-2 if you have questions about healthy eating and cancer prevention.

For more information

Lowering your risk of cancer: What about specific foods?
Just for men - stay healthy over 50
What is prostate cancer?, Canadian Cancer Society

Last Update – October 9, 2016

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