Cancer of the prostate is the most common kind in UK men – though mortality rates are falling. Oncologist Bobby Liaw shares his top tips for understanding your risk – and reducing it
Dr Bobby Liaw shares his top five tips to reduce your risk of prostate cancer
01 – REWORK WHAT’S FOR DINNER
Becoming more specialised in prostate cancer pushed me to cut down my redmeat intake to two or three times a month and eliminate processed meat. Research suggests that doing this, as well as eating cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale) and foods with antioxidants, may reduce prostate cancer risk.
02 – STAY ON THE MOVE
Being active and staying at a healthy weight are very important for reducing your prostate cancer risk, especially since obesity is linked to a higher likelihood of aggressive forms. There’s no specific protect-your prostate workout, but at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise is associated with a lower risk.
03 – WATCH MORE, DO LESS
If I had a low-grade, lowrisk prostate tumour, I’d opt for active surveillance, or monitoring it without treatment. For these tumours, plenty of studies show that survival rates are just as good as with surgery and radiation, and it avoids the risk of treatment complications. Waiting can cause anxiety when men hear ‘cancer’, so there’s a movement to call these something like ‘non-cancer’.
04 – GET YOUR FAMILY TALKING
A patient recently told me that he didn’t know his dad had prostate cancer until after he had died. It’s important! If your father or brother had it, your risk is two to three times higher than average. Health topics come up easily in my family, but if your parents aren’t going to bring up medical history, ask.
05 – WISE UP ON OFF-LABEL MEDS
Some doctors prescribe the drugs dutasteride and finasteride, used to treat an enlarged prostate, off-label to reduce prostate-cancer risk, but they’re controversial. They may reduce risk only for low-grade cancers and can affect libido, cause ED and maybe enlarge the breasts. For me, assessing my own risk, ethnicity, lack of family history and desire not to, I don’t take either.