Prostate Cancer and how to keep your prostate healthy

Eight simple tips to keep your prostate gland in good shape and reduce risk of inflammation, discomfort and disease

Screening Tests

The most commonly used screening test for prostate health is a blood test measuring PSA (prostate-specific antigen). This is produced by the prostate gland. High levels of PSA may be an early indicator of prostate cancer. However, it also gives many false positives. It is also raised in BPH so a high level doesn’t mean you have a problem. Generally, having a PSA below 2.5, if you’re under 60, or 4 ng/ml if you are over 60 is consistent with good health. Doctors also carry out a digital rectal examination, however this is also prone to false positives.

How to keep your prostate healthy

1. Don’t drink milk The strongest dietary risk factor for prostate cancer is dairy consumption. Switzerland, for example, has the highest dairy intake and the highest numbers of deaths from prostate cancer. This is almost certainly due to a hormone in milk called Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF). Prostate tissue has receptors for IGF-I and IGF-II. Research shows clearly that men with high levels of circulating IGF-I are at greater risk of suffering from prostate cancer than those with lower levels. Research also shows that circulating levels of IGF-I in the blood correlate with high dairy consumption. A pint of milk a day, or the equivalent in other dairy products, quadruples risk.

2. Reduce animal fats Fats from dairy products, meat, fish and eggs are the highest sources of hormone-disrupting chemicals and high consumption of these foods is more likely to increase risk. So, moving more towards a vegetarian diet, using bean, lentil, nuts and seeds for protein is consistent with keeping your prostate healthy. Fish, especially if organic or wild, or omega-3 rich eggs are probably the best of these foods.

3. Increase omega-3 fats Fish oils may be protective against prostate cancer. A study published in the Lancet followed more than 6,000 Swedish men age 55 for up to 30 years. Its conclusion: eating fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel could reduce the risk of prostate cancer by a third.1 The men who ate no fish had a two-fold to three-fold higher risk of prostate cancer than those who ate moderate or high amounts. Supplementing purified omega-3 fish oils (EPA and DHA) provides a guaranteed PCB-free source of these powerful anti-inflammatory agents. If you’re suffering from BPH or prostatitis, supplement the equivalent of 1,000mg of EPA a day.

4. Eat more fruit and veg The higher your consumption, the lower your risk. Particularly beneficial are tomatoes, rich in lycopene, and kale, cabbage, broccoli, tenderstem and cauliflower. These are profoundly cancer protective.

5. Take an antioxidant supplement While individual antioxidants haven’t always come up trumps, a recent trial giving over 5,000 men a combined antioxidant supplement containing vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium

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