Did you know 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?
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Certain risk factors can be changed while others can’t, according to Sam Abraksia, MD, an oncologist and medical director at the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center at South Pointe Hospital.
Here’s what you should know:
- Advanced age increases your risk. Despite this, prostate cancer is not an “old man’s disease:” 35 percent of those affected are younger than 65.
- Family history play a role. A strong family history of prostate cancer can increase your chances of developing the disease. While these factors are beyond our control, having awareness of increased risk can motivate us to focus on the areas we can affect.
If there are factors that put you at higher risk, it’s important to be vigilant in areas you can control, including regular screenings. Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of prostate screening. For African-Americans or those with a family history of prostate cancer, ask if screening should begin earlier.
What you can do to lower your risk
Doing these three things can help you manage your risk for prostate cancer:
- Eat healthy. Avoid foods high in sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol, refined sugar and trans fat, which contribute to cancer risk. Instead, choose foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, almonds) and monounsaturated fats (olive oil, peanuts) as well as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Eating right doesn’t just lower your risk for prostate cancer, but prevents weight gain and improves your overall health.
- Be active. Participate in 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or 150 minutes of moderate activity, weekly. This can include walking, swimming, biking or any exercise your doctor recommends.
- Get screened. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends baseline PSA screening for healthy men ages 50 to 70 every one to two years, and a majority of the panelists recommend baseline testing for men ages 45 to 49, too.