Even though prostate cancer has a very low occurrence rate in Africa, it is more common in African-American men than in the general population in the United States and starts somewhat sooner. For this reason most doctors recommend that African-American men start the DRE and PSA test at age forty. Another group that needs to start their annual testing at 40 is anyone that has a close male blood-relative that has been diagnosed with prostate cancer as there seems to be a genetic component to some prostate cancers. Early and annual testing is the best step to take to prevent prostate cancer if you fall into either of these groups.
Certain hormone factors appear to be related to the rate of occurrence of prostate cancer. High levels of dihydrotestosterone, or low levels of 5 alpha-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, appear to be related to the increased chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. If you have two close male relatives that have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you may want your doctor to test for these hormone levels before you reach 40 to assess your risk for this disease.
As with most western metabolic diseases and many types of cancer, diet seems to play a role in ones susceptibility to prostate cancer, thus making adjustments to ones diet may help to prevent prostate cancer. Red meat and saturated fat are linked to increased rates of prostate cancer and should probably be reduced in your diet. Soy and Lycopene (found in tomatoes) appear help to reduce the chance of getting prostate cancer, so they should be increased in your diet. Finally three dietary supplements; Selenium and vitamins D and E, seem to reduce the probability of getting prostate cancer when taken in moderation. Finally, people that exercise regularly and maintain a proper body weight seem to have a lower incidence of prostate cancer.
People who have an occupational exposure to high levels of cadmium or radiation appear to have an increased risk for prostate cancer. Exposure to both of these should be avoided in any case. If you do have occupational exposures of this sort, you probably want to start your testing at age 40, like other people with high risk factors.
The things that have the most effect on a person’s chances of getting prostate cancer, race and genetic susceptibility, are really beyond control. The best thing that any man can do to prevent prostate cancer is to start routine, annual, testing at age 50 or age 40 if high risk factors are present. The earlier you are diagnosed and treated the better your chances of having full recovery from prostate cancer.