July 31, 2014
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Prostate Cancer: One Man's Story

What is your risk of prostate cancer?

What is your risk of prostate cancer?

Prostate Cancer Risk Factor Quiz

Take this quiz to learn about what can affect your risk of developing prostate cancer. While we don't know the exact causes of cancer, there are trends that men with prostate cancer share.

  1. How old are you?
    The older you are, the greater your chance of developing prostate cancer. If you are a man under 50, you have a 2 in 1,000 chance of having prostate cancer. If you are in your 50s, you have a 2 in 100 (2%) chance. Between the ages of 60 and 69, you have an almost 7% chance. And that goes up to almost 12% over the age of 70.
     
    It is a good idea to get screened for any prostate problems as soon as you reach the age of 40.
     
  2. Are you overweight?
    Calculate your body mass index (BMI): BMI = body weight (kg) ÷ height² (m) (Example: if you weigh 150 lbs (68 kg) and are 5'8" (1.73 m) tall, divide 68 by (1.73 × 1.73), or 2.99, to make 22.74.)
    If you are overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) or obese (BMI 30 or higher), you are at about double the risk for developing prostate cancer compared to at a normal weight. That stands true for most types of cancer. As well, your body needs energy to fight off diseases and illnesses. An overweight body requires more of your body's resources to maintain itself in a normal state. That results in less energy for anything else.
     
  3. How much exercise do you get each week?
    If you consistently burn fewer calories than you consume, eventually you will be a greater risk of developing prostate cancer and other medical conditions related to weight gain. You also want to keep your blood pressure and your blood insulin levels low, because both of these have been linked to prostate cancer. Exercising 3 times a week, 20 minutes each time, can make a big difference. But you'll see better results if you can fit in at least two hours of exercise each week. And you'll have more energy for all of your activities.
     
  4. Have any men in your family had prostate cancer?
    Scientific studies have linked a specific gene to prostate cancer; if you carry that gene, you're almost guaranteed to develop prostate cancer by age 85. Two-thirds of men who have prostate cancer by their mid-50s have the prostate cancer gene. 15% of all prostate cancers are directly from genetics. You're twice as likely to get prostate cancer if either your father or your brother has had it, and that goes up to five times likelihood if both your father and your brother have had it. The positive side is that if we know a specific gene causes prostate cancer, we can focus research on it to help eradicate prostate cancer.
     
  5. What is your ethnic background?
    Men of African or Caribbean descent have the highest percentage of prostate cancer incidence, followed by Caucasians. Asians and Native Americans have the lowest risk. Why do we see these differences? Genetics and environment may explain it, at least in part, along with lifestyle differences and diet.
     
    However, where you live seems to play a role in your likelihood to develop prostate cancer. The farther away from the equator you live, the higher the incidence of prostate cancer. Scandinavia tops the list, with almost five times as many prostate cancer cases as Asia. Men of African descent living in Africa are less likely to have prostate cancer than their counterparts in North America. And Asian immigrants in North America also have a greater chance of having prostate cancer than if they lived in Asia.
     
  6. Do you eat the following foods regularly?
    While food alone will not cure prostate cancer, you should take a look at your diet to see if you are getting enough of the following foods:
     
    Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel, could reduce the risk of prostate cancer by a third.
     
    Omega-3 fatty acids help maintain a healthy prostate and repair diseased tissue. They are found in trout, anchovies, bluefish, white albacore tuna, tofu, walnuts, canola oil and leafy green vegetables.
     
    Foods rich in lycopene have been shown to help fight prostate cancer. Lycopene is found in guava, papaya, red grapefruit, watermelon, tomatoes, tomato products, ketchup and vegetable cocktails.
     
    Vitamin D is found in shrimp, skim or 1% milk, and fish oils, but is also produced by the body and activated after exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun. While vitamin D is thought to have protective effects against prostate cancer, calcium suppresses the body's natural production of vitamin D. If you are planning to take extra supplements, speak to your doctor first about the appropriate amount.
     
    Selenium supplementation has been found to decrease prostate cancer incidence by almost half. For a selenium boost, make sure you are eating meats, fish, cereal, dairy products, eggs, Brazil nuts, garlic, mushrooms and asparagus.
     
    Avoid foods that are low in fibre and high in fat – they have been associated with increasing the likelihood of developing prostate cancer.
     
  7. Do you use painkillers such as ASA or ibuprofen?
    If you are taking Aspirin® (ASA), you may actually be helping to keep prostate cancer under control. Speak to your doctor if you are thinking of taking an anti-inflammatory painkiller.
     
  8. Have you been exposed to asbestos, pesticides (herbicides, PCB), or lead in your workplace, school, or home?
    All of these substances have been known to increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.
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