Diet And Prostate Cancer: What Men Need To Know
The prostate gland is a small nut-sized gland found between the bladder and penis in men. It produces fluids that protect and keep sperms healthy. One of the commonest diseases of the prostate gland is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men world-wide.
Nigeria ranks first among nine African countries with high prevalence of prostate cancer. The occurrence of prostate cancer among Nigerian men is between 2% to 11% as observed in a study carried out at a University Hospital in Abuja, which found that screen-detected prostate cancer is under reported in this environment and many patients seek care at advanced stage of prostate cancer. (1)
The exact cause of prostate cancer is not known. But some things have been found to increase risks of having prostate cancer. These include: age (men above 50 years), Ethnic group (Black men more at risk), family history (if brother or father had prostate cancer, you are at greater risk), in addition to other risk factors. Diet is also associated with prostate cancer.
Early detection of prostate cancer affects overall management and treatment outcomes. However, several factors influences men’s decision to screen or not to screen for prostate cancer. Factors such as discomfort during screening procedure, perception of low risk for prostate cancer, not wanting to know etc. are some reasons identified in a study (2).
As with all cancers, nutrition plays an active role in recovery and increasing longevity. Good nutrition and healthy lifestyle are important for prostate cancer too (3).
Diet high in calcium has been found to increase risks while diet high in tomatoes and other red fruits (which contain lycopene), lower the risks. These associations however need further research (4).
Meanwhile, Harvard Medical School says a study to investigate the relationship between diet and prostate cancer tumor progression was launched. The study seeks to find out if typical western diet affects how the cancer progresses in men who have early-stage prostate cancer (5).
As we wait for outcome of current and future studies, you can add these foods to lower your risks for prostate cancer. Men above 50 years and those with more risk factors for prostate cancer need to know more about the condition and seek care early.
While we do not know what exactly causes prostate cancer, we do know nutrition and healthy lifestyle increase longevity and decrease the risks for prostate cancer.