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Natural Remedies for Prostate Cancer Prevention

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Updated January 29, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

There are many self-care strategies that can aid in helping to prevent prostate cancer, the third most common cause of cancer-related death in men. Located below the bladder, the prostate is the gland responsible for producing fluid for semen.

Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer

One of the first steps of prostate cancer prevention is learning the key risk factors for prostate cancer. Those risk factors include:

  • family history of prostate cancer
  • a diet high in red meat and/or high-fat dairy products
  • obesity

Prostate cancer risk rises rapidly after age 50, and almost two out of three incidences of prostate cancer occur in men over age 65. Prostate cancer is also more common among African-American men than men of other races.

Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Men with prostate cancer often have elevated levels of a substance called prostate specific antigen (PSA), which can be detected through medical screenings. Other symptoms include:

  • difficulty passing urine
  • low back pain
  • pain with ejaculation

Natural Approach to Prostate Cancer Prevention

Research suggests that the following natural substances may be of some benefit in prostate cancer prevention:

1) Lycopene

A number of studies indicate that regular consumption of lycopene (an antioxidant found in foods like tomato and watermelon) may help reduce prostate cancer risk. However, no studies have proven that taking lycopene in supplement form can decrease the risk of prostate cancer.

2) Vitamin D

Several studies show that maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D may help protect against prostate cancer. Since it can be challenging to get your fill of vitamin D solely through food sources and sunlight exposure, many medical experts recommend boosting your vitamin D levels by taking a daily supplement.

3) Omega-3 Fatty Acids

In a 2009 study of 466 men diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer and 478 age-matched men without prostate cancer, scientists found that higher dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a decreased risk of aggressive prostate cancer. The study's authors suggest that omega-3s (found in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel) may help fight prostate cancer by reducing inflammation.

4) Green Tea

In a population study published in 2008, researchers looked at data on 49,920 men (ages 40 to 69) and found that consumption of green tea was linked to a reduced risk of advanced prostate cancer.

More Strategies for Prostate Cancer Prevention

Following a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, limiting your alcohol intake to two or fewer drinks per day, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, and visiting your doctor regularly to monitor your prostate health can also be helpful for prostate cancer prevention.

If you're considering using any type of dietary supplement for prostate cancer prevention, make sure to consult your doctor about the potential benefits and risks involved.

Sources

Chan JM, Stampfer MJ, Ma J, Gann PH, Gaziano JM, Giovannucci EL. " Dairy products, calcium, and prostate cancer risk in the Physicians' Health Study." Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 74(4):549-54.

Chen TC, Holick MF. "Vitamin D and prostate cancer prevention and treatment." Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2003 (9):423-30.

Fradet V, Cheng I, Casey G, Witte JS. "Dietary omega-3 fatty acids, cyclooxygenase-2 genetic variation, and aggressive prostate cancer risk." Clin Cancer Res. 2009 1;15(7):2559-66.

Giovannucci E. "A review of epidemiologic studies of tomatoes, lycopene, and prostate cancer." Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2002 227(10):852-9.

H. Krishna Moorthy and P. Venugopal. "Strategies for prostate cancer prevention: Review of the literature." Indian J Urol. 2008 24(3): 295–302.

Kurahashi N, Sasazuki S, Iwasaki M, Inoue M, Tsugane S; JPHC Study Group. "Green tea consumption and prostate cancer risk in Japanese men: a prospective study." Am J Epidemiol. 2008 1;167(1):71-7.

Peters U, Leitzmann MF, Chatterjee N, Wang Y, Albanes D, Gelmann EP, Friesen MD, Riboli E, Hayes RB. "Serum lycopene, other carotenoids, and prostate cancer risk: a nested case-control study in the prostate, lung, colorectal, and ovarian cancer screening trial." Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 May;16(5):962-8.

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