Prostate cancer will affect one in every six American men at some point during their lifetime. Researchers have not found one specific cause for the development of prostate cancer, but they do know some risk factors, such as age and race. Unfortunately, there's nothing anyone can do in regard to those risk factors. However, research has shown some methods that are effective for prostate cancer prevention.
One supplement that has been shown to be effective for prostate cancer prevention is fish oil. The specific oils used in most studies for prostate cancer prevention are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). One study has shown that men who take more than 470mg of fish oil per day were 11% less likely to develop prostate cancer, as compared to men who took less than 125mg per day. The beneficial effects of fish oil for prostate cancer prevention seem to be higher with fish oils obtained from fatty fish, as opposed to supplements, but both were more effective than no supplementation.
Another dietary factor that has been shown to be helpful for prostate cancer prevention is selenium. A Nutritional Prevention of Cancer (NPS) study for prostate cancer prevention found that men who supplemented their diets with at least 200mg of selenium a day cut their risk of prostate cancer in half. Another study for prostate cancer prevention, this one conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School, found that selenium was highly effective in slowing down prostate tumor progression. Since the efficacy of selenium supplementation for prostate cancer prevention or inhibited growth has been shown repeatedly, it would be prudent for men to add at least 200mg of selenium to any supplementation program.
Another supplement still being researched for the prevention of prostate cancer is lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid most commonly found in tomatoes. Preliminary research has shown that a high intake of tomatoes drastically reduces the incidence of prostate cancer. In clinical studies, an increase intake of lycopene in patients who have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer has been shown to reduce PSA levels and reduce or eliminate growth of the tumor to nearby tissues. No adverse effects of lycopene supplementation have been found, so it is reasonable to begin supplementation while further studies are being completed.
In addition to using supplementation for prostate cancer prevention, it is also important to have regular preventative screening. While this does not prevent prostate cancer, it can lead to earlier diagnosis, which corresponds to a higher prostate cancer survival rate. The prostate cancer survival rate for those diagnosed with prostate cancer that is limited to the prostate or surrounding area is nearly 100% over 5 years. Conversely, those whose cancer is diagnosed when it has already spread to distant parts of the body have a survival rate of only 34% over 5 years.
If you're concerned about prostate cancer, you can begin a supplementation program that incorporates fish oils, selenium and lycopene in an effort to prevent cancer's development. However, keep in mind that even if you are actively supplementing to prevent prostate cancer, you should still have regular checkups with your physician.