Question: My father and brother both died of prostate cancer. I am still fine, but at age 45, I want to do everything I can now to avoid prostate cancer. Truthfully, I am terrified. I’m a faithful reader and I value your opinion. Can you give me more information? –M.M. Phoenix, Arizona
Answer : Prostate cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer in men of all ages, and most common cause of death from cancer in men over 75. You are smart to think ahead and so I’ve researched and prepared this list to help you and other proactive men:
1. Consider vitamin D. This antioxidant may help reduce overall cancer risk and lower PSA values by 25 to 50 percent in men with prostate cancer. Healthy amounts of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) are found in cold water seafood and in supplemental cod-liver oil.
2. Reduce free radical damage. I’ll be blunt: stop smoking and eating greasy burgers, French fries, beer, foods with MSG and other artificial chemicals, all of which assault your cells.
3. Test properly. The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test is America’s gold standard test but unfortunately it could be normal in the presence of prostate cancer, giving a man a false sense of security. A more accurate diagnostic lab test may be to measure the percentage of free PSA rather than absolute, total PSA. Also, evaluating levels of estrogen, androstanediol, testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, are important.
4. Don’t overmedicate: Prescribed medications suppress serum DHT but lowering it too much could backfire. It’s shocking, but very low DHT hormone will also suppress an anti-cancer hormone called androstanediol, causing more aggressive tumors. Progressive physicians know this, so they routinely measure the ratio between DHT and androstanediol, which is more important than the level of either hormone alone.
5. Consider insulin levels. Chronically elevated blood insulin levels are associated with prostate cancer, especially in men who are overweight.
6. Exercise. When you are overweight, your fat cells hold on to estrogen. Excessive estrogen in a man may cause erectile dysfunction, not to mention a higher risk of cancer.
7. Consider diet. Men who are heavy meat eaters (five times or more per week) are 2 ½ times more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who eat it once a week.
8. Consider natural supplements that support prostate health. Ask your doctor if these are right for you: Quercetin, curcumin, lycopene, beta sitosterol, melatonin and natural anti-fungals. Notice that saw palmetto is not on my list, because even though it can help, it could harm you if it’s not monitored.