1 in 6 American men will get prostate cancer. It kills approximately 27,360 (1 in 35) each year. Though it accounts for almost 10% of cancer deaths, treatments for prostate cancer are very effective if the cancer is detected early. Most symptoms of prostate cancer aren’t shown until the later stages of development, so it’s important for men to be checked annually. Screening includes a Digital Rectal Exam and a Prostate-Specific Antigen Exam that should be done every year after turning 45 (if you have a family history of prostate cancer) or after 50 if you’re at normal risk.
The main ways to prevent prostate cancer are screening and having a diet low in saturated fat. Researchers believe that an increased amount of saturated fats in the diet causes the body to increase the amount of testosterone it makes, which increases cell production in the prostate and can lead to cancer. Saturated fats are found mostly in animal products and are solid at room temperature (ex. lard, butter, fat from red meats). Dieticians suggest that less that 20% of the calories eaten daily come from saturated fats.
Which diets, then, help reduce your chance of getting prostate cancer? The Mediterranean and Japanese diets are especially low in saturated fats. They involve mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, grains and breads, and poultry or fish (rarely red meat). These diets are also great for your heart! The Prostate Cancer Foundation has created two helpful cookbooks that provide healthier, low-fat versions of your favorite meals. They will help you easily adapt this kind of diet which will hopefully reduce your chances of getting prostate cancer! The cookbooks can be bought here: