Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among men, worldwide. Healthy Food Guide takes a look at the warning signs and what foods can help keep your prostate healthy.
Prostate cancer tends to affect older men, with 63 per cent of cases diagnosed in men over the age 65. By 85, one in six men are diagnosed with the condition. Read on to discover the warning signs and what you, or someone you love, can do about it, including what to eat for a healthy prostate.
What is the prostate?
Unique to men, the prostate is a walnut-sized gland just below the bladder between the pubic bone and rectum. It wraps around the urethra (the tube carrying urine from the bladder to the penis) and is essential for male fertility. As well as helping to control the flow of urine, it produces fluids that feed and protect sperm. Unfortunately, the prostate gland continues to grow with age, which can affect bladder control.
Know your history
Between five and 10 per cent of prostate cancer cases are genetic. While no single gene or group of genes has been identified as the main cause, the same faulty BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which contribute to an increased risk of breast cancer, is linked to a small proportion of prostate cancers.
A family history of prostate cancer can double your risk of developing the condition, so having a male blood relative (brother, father, uncle, grandfather on either side of the family), who has had prostate cancer is a red flag. And this risk is thought to increase the more the number of your male blood relatives have, or have had, prostate cancer. Since the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes account for a small proportion of prostate cancers, having close female relatives with either breast and/or ovarian cancer may also be a warning sign of developing prostate cancer.
What food to eat to help prostate health
Men are able to improve their diet and lifestyle at any age in order to get healthy and reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer. Recent research from the UK found eating a 400g serve of broccoli each week may offer a protective effect against prostate cancer. You can also increase your protection by pairing broccoli with tomatoes, which are rich in lycopene, a disease-fighting antioxidant. Tomatoes have a protective benefit against cancers, but eating them in combination with broccoli seems to boost the cancer-fighting abilities of both foods.
5 warning signs of prostate cancer
In many places there is no screening program for prostate cancer, so early detection is vital for best recovery results. Speak to your GP if you notice:
- Sudden urges to urinate
- Difficulty in starting urine flow
- A slow, interrupted urine flow and dribbling afterwards
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Pain during urination.
Foods that are good for prostate health
- Legumes (beans, chickpeas and lentils)
- A good variety of colourful fruit and veg
- Tomatoes (canned and cooked are better than raw)
Go easy on…
- Charred and blackened meats
- Processed meats such as bacon, ham and salami
Article sources and references
- Better Health Channel. Prostate disease. Accessed February 2022.https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/prostate-disease
- Cancer Council Australia. 2020. Understanding prostate cancer. Accessed February 2022.https://www.cancer.org.au/assets/pdf/understanding-prostate-cancer-booklet
- Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. 2022. What you need to know about Prostate Cancer. Accessed February 2022.https://www.prostate.org.au/