Prostate Cancer Prevention
Prostate Cancer Prevention
Clinical Services Department MC-21
What is Prostate Cancer?
• Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control.
• Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow out of control.
• The prostate is a gland found only in males. It makes some of the fluid that is part of semen, and is located below the bladder (the hollow organ where urine is stored) and in front of the rectum (the last part of the intestines).
• Almost all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas. Other types include: small cell carcinomas, neuroendocrine tumors and sarcomas.
• Some prostate cancers grow and spread quickly, but most grow slowly.
• Autopsy studies show that many older men (and even some younger men) who died of other causes also had prostate cancer that never affected them during their lives. In many cases, neither the patient nor their doctors even knew they had it.
Prostate Cancer Statistics:
• Prostate cancer is most common in North America, Northwestern Europe, Australia, and on Caribbean Islands.
• About 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men older than 65 years old.
• In 2016, the latest year for which incidence data are available, 192,443 new cases of Prostate Cancer were reported, and 30,370 men died of Prostate Cancer in the United States.
• In Puerto Rico (P.R.), the incidence of prostate cancer in male patients is 40.6%.
• Mortality rates for prostate cancer in P.R. account for over 18% in the male population.
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors:
• Age – the chance of having prostate cancer increases after the age of 50.
• Race and ethnicity –prostate cancer develops more often in African-American men and in Caribbean men of African ancestry than in men of other races.
• Family history – Prostate cancer may be inherited, but most cases occur in men without a history of it.
• Obesity – if diagnosed with prostate cancer, obese men are more likely to have advanced disease which is more difficult to treat.
Prostate Cancer Prevention Strategies:
There is no sure way to prevent prostate cancer, since most of the risk factors can’t be controlled. Strategies to lower risk include:
• Be physically active.
o Try to exercise most days of the week.
o If you’re new to exercise, start slow and work your way up to more exercise time each day.
• Stay at a healthy weight.
o Reduce fat intake, and eat more fruits and vegetables.
o Ask your doctor for help creating a plan for healthy weight loss.
• Limit calcium supplements and to not get too much calcium in the diet, unless otherwise advised by your physician.
o Some studies have shown a higher risk of prostate cancer in men whose diets are high in calcium.
• 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, such as finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart), which are used to treat benign prostate hyperplasia, might help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
o 5-alpha reductase is an enzyme in the body that changes testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the main hormone that causes the prostate to grow.
o Given that prostate cancer feeds on testosterone and DHT (dihydrotestosterone), there have been multiple large studies trying to lower DHT in men to prevent prostate cancer that have shown that these drugs may reduce the chances that a man will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
o However, these drugs are not approved by the FDA specifically to help prevent prostate cancer, and the benefit of using them to lower prostate cancer risk is not clear. Talk to your physician for more information on these medications.
• If you smoke, quit smoking.
• Don’t drink alcohol, or drink in moderation.
• For men 45 or older (40 or older for African American men or those with a family history of prostate cancer), discuss the risks and benefits of screening with a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test and, if indicated, a rectal examination, with your doctor.
o PSA test: measures the level of PSA in the blood, which is a substance made by the prostate. The levels of PSA in the blood can be higher in men who have prostate cancer. The PSA level may also be elevated in other conditions that affect the prostate.
For Additional Information on Prostate Cancer Prevention:
• American Cancer Society: www.cancer.org
• National Cancer Institute: www.cancer.gov
• Prostate Cancer Foundation: www.pcf.org
• Mayo Clinic: www.mayoclinic.org
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/cancer
• Medline Plus: www.medlineplus.gov