8 Tips for Better Prostate Health
Urologic oncologist Dr. Gerald Wang explains how prostate cancer is preventable and offers steps men can take to improve their prostate health.
In the U.S., about 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
“After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men, but this disease can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes or detected early,” says Dr. Gerald Wang, chief of urology at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens and assistant professor of clinical urology at Weill Cornell Medicine. “An adult male who follows dietary guidelines, schedules regular checkups, and receives recommended screenings can live a longer and healthier life.”
To raise awareness about preventable conditions among men, Dr. Wang offers eight tips for a healthier prostate:
1. Maintain a healthy weight.
Obesity is linked to several prostate health issues, including prostate cancer. A balanced diet and consistent exercise are important for a healthy prostate and maintaining a healthy weight.
2. Eat more vegetables.
A diet rich in green, leafy vegetables is important for a healthy prostate. Vitamins and antioxidants found in vegetables keep you and your prostate healthy. Try adding lettuce (romaine is among the most nutritious varieties), spinach, kale, and broccoli to your meals each day.
3. Reduce consumption of red meat.
Heavy consumption of red meat has been associated with PhIP, a chemical compound released when red meat is charred, which can cause an increased risk of prostate cancer. By eating red meat only on special occasions, you can reduce your risk.
4. Know your risk and get tested.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prostate cancer screening recommendations differ depending on whether you’re in a high-risk or an average-risk group. Men with a higher risk of developing prostate cancer include African-Americans, people of Scandinavian descent, and anyone who has two or more family members who were diagnosed with prostate cancer. 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.
5. Exercise regularly.
Exercise has a preventive effect on many conditions that affect prostate health. Even 30 minutes of moderate activity each day, like a brisk walk or jog, can have far-reaching health benefits.
6. Hydrate daily.
Drinking water is essential for prostate and overall health. On average, it is recommended to consume at least eight cups of water daily. Be sure to drink water during and after exercise.
7. Manage stress.
Although stress may not directly cause prostate issues, long-term stress can weaken the immune system, alter your hormonal balance, and make you more susceptible to disease. Meditation is a great way to ease daily pressures and can also help improve your mental health.
8. Stop smoking.
Smoking contributes to some of the leading causes of death in men. The carbon monoxide in tobacco attaches to red blood cells until the cell dies, which can cause prostate cancer and other diseases. If you’re a smoker, talk to your doctor about the best plan to quit.
Gerald Wang, M.D., F.A.C.S., is chief of urology at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens and assistant professor of clinical urology at Weill Cornell Medicine. As a fellowship-trained urologic oncologist, Dr. Wang specializes in the evaluation and treatment of cancers of the genitourinary tract, including cancers of the prostate, bladder, kidney, ureter, adrenal gland, and testes. Additionally, Dr. Wang specializes in minimally invasive surgical techniques, including robotic and laparoscopic surgery, to manage both urologic cancers and complex reconstructive surgeries of the genitourinary tract.