Health Ask The Expert
Tips for Keeping a Healthy Prostate
1. Maintain a Balanced Diet
They’re probably not your favorite part of any meal, but green, leafy vegetables are a good first step toward a healthy prostate. These vegetables are full of important vitamins and antioxidants that keep you — and specifically, your prostate — healthy.
So look for some healthy recipes that have lettuce, spinach, kale and broccoli to make your prostate-healthy dinner delicious.
While you’re filling your plate with these leafy greens, avoid charred meats. There is believed to be a link between PhIP, a chemical compound released when meat is charred, and an increased risk of cancer.
2. Get Some Sun
Don’t ditch the sunscreen, but don’t hide from the sun either. Too little sun exposure can actually increase your risk of getting prostate cancer. We get a lot of valuable vitamin D from the sun, and this is a great way to reduce your risk of prostate cancer.
Vitamin D also helps keep us healthy in other ways. It’s good for heart health, and it keeps your kidneys and pancreas healthy.
3. Get Screened
Prostate cancer screening recommendations are different depending on whether you’re in a high-risk or an average-risk group. If you are in a high-risk group, you should consider getting screened for prostate cancer starting at age 40. Men who are at normal risk are encouraged to consider screenings starting at age 55.
Men with a higher risk of developing prostate cancer include:
- People of Scandinavian descent
- Anyone who has two or more family members who were diagnosed with prostate cancer
Screenings can include a digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. If your PSA test indicates an above-normal result and you’ve had a normal digital rectal exam, you may be a candidate for the prostate health index test. This blood test is similar to the PSA test, but it provides results with a higher specificity. The test was FDA-approved in 2012, and Johns Hopkins is one of a few American medical centers to perform the test regularly.
There are pros and cons to some prostate cancer screenings, and a decision to begin screenings should be made with your doctor.