Prostate Health – it’s a Guy Thing

Prostate disease, including cancer, is a risk for all men. One in eight men in the US, will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Six in ten prostate cancers occur in men over the age of 65. Age is a factor, along with race/ethnicity and lifestyle factors. Prostate cancer accounts for about 15% of new cancers, in men, according to the National Cancer Institute. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men, behind lung cancer. There are not always symptoms for prostate cancer so regular screenings along with annual physician visits, is key for early detection.

The prostate gland is a male reproductive organ, about the size of a walnut, that produces fluids that feed and protect sperm cells. It is located at the base of the bladder. The three most common forms of prostate disease are:

  1. Inflammation (prostatitis)-more common in younger men
  2. Non-cancerous enlargement (BPH)
  3. Prostate cancer

Approximately 25% of men aged 55 years, 50% of men age 70, and 90% of men aged 80 will have a prostate condition. The risk exists for all men and is a rises with age.

The three main risk factors for prostate cancer including prostate cancer of family history, racial background, age and lifestyle. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, discuss early screening options with your physician. A family history of breast cancer may also impact risk. Black men are at a greater risk for prostate cancer. Smoking, obesity, and excess calcium intake have been shown to increase the risk according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Sexually transmitted disease and exposure to toxic chemicals (like Agent Orange) may also increase the risks.

Untreated prostate cancer can cause incontinence, erectile dysfunction and the cancer may metastasize (grow), spreading to other parts of the body.

  • While symptoms are often absent, some prostate conditions may cause:
  • Difficulty with urination
  • Urge to urinate at night
  • Painful urination
  • Inability to feel the bladder empty
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain or disfunction with sexual intercourse
  • Pain in the low back, hips, pelvis or thighs
  • Bone pain
  • Weight loss

Early diagnosis and treatment is vital. Prostate conditions, even cancer, are treatable, especially when caught early. Visit your physician every year. Discuss your risk factors especially as family history, race, and age are concerned. Alert your physician if you experience any of the symptoms of a prostate condition (keeping in mind that not all cases have symptoms). In general, men begin the discussion of prostate health at age 45. Men in their 50s and 60s begin the testing for prostate conditions. For those at greater risk, the discussion begins in the late 30s or 40. Primary Care physicians initiate most prostate cancer screenings. Abnormalities will be referred to a Urologist. 

Diagnostic tests include:

  • Physical exam through the rectum to determine the size of the prostate
  • Blood test for prostate specific antigen (PSA)
  • Mid-stream urine tests (MSU) to check for infection or blood in the urine
  • Ultrasounds
  • Urinary flow studies
  • Biopsy of the prostate

Lifestyle Suggestions for Prostate Health:

  • Stay Active: Try to incorporate physical activity into your routine. Simple exercises like walking during breaks or doing stretches can make a big difference.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Healthy Eating: Focus on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Foods like tomatoes, green tea, and fatty fish are great for prostate health.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help flush out toxins.
  • Regular Check-ups: Don’t skip your annual physical exams. Regular screenings are crucial for early detection of prostate issues.
  • Manage Stress: Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation to reduce stress, which can negatively impact your prostate health. Check out the meditations in the Well Being section of your Rolling Strong app.
  • Quality Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to support overall health.

Best Foods and Drinks for Prostate Health:

  • Tomatoes: Rich in lycopene, which may help reduce prostate cancer risk.
  • Green Tea: Contains antioxidants that support prostate health.
  • Fatty Fish: High in omega-3 fatty acids which may help reduce inflammation.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Provide zinc, which is important for prostate health.
  • Berries: Packed with antioxidants and vitamin C.
  • Broccoli: Contains compounds that may help prevent cancer.

Foods to Avoid:

Some studies suggest that high dairy consumption may be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. Dairy products, particularly those high in fat, may raise levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF), which can promote the growth of cancer cells. Additionally, high calcium intake from dairy might lower levels of a form of vitamin D that may protect against prostate cancer.

If you are a man, your risk of a prostate condition is highly likely during your lifetime. With regular annual physicals, monitoring of prostate symptoms, and a healthy lifestyle you can proactively deal with prostate conditions.


By: Christy Coughlin, Wellness Coach