Prostate Cancer: 6 Things Men Need to Know

Prostate Cancer: 6 Things Men Need to Know

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1. Will changing my diet lower my risk of prostate cancer?

To lower the risk of cancer, including prostate cancer, men should focus on eating a diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats and non-meat protein sources such as nuts and beans. They should also avoid added sugars and refined grains, said Dr. Marian Neuhouser, a Fred Hutch nutritional epidemiologist.

2. Should I get yearly PSA testing to screen for prostate cancer?

Most men who’ve never had prostate cancer probably don’t need yearly PSA testing, said Dr. John Gore, a UW urologic oncologist. PSA testing refers to a blood test for prostate-specific antigen, a protein produced in the prostate which, when present in high levels, may signal the presence of cancer.

3. How does genetics affect my risk of prostate cancer?

A family history of cancers ― not only prostate cancer ― may increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer, said Dr. Heather Cheng, an oncologist and researcher at UW and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Fred Hutch’s treatment arm.

4. I’m in active surveillance for my prostate cancer. Do I really need all these biopsies?

Right now, biopsies are still standard of care ― but stay tuned.

5. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer but I’m worried about side effects from treatment. How can I find a balance?

“Doctors woefully underestimate patients’ problems with side effects from treatment for prostate cancer,” said Gore, citing research showing that men’s cancer specialists are not aware just how much their patients are bothered by incontinence, a frequent need to urinate, sexual dysfunction, and other quality-of-life issues commonly caused by treatments for prostate cancer. Research funded by the men’s health-focused Movember Foundation is underway to collect data on post-treatment quality-of-life outcomes from men undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, with the goal of developing better guides for choosing a course of treatment and managing post-treatment symptoms.

6. How can I participate in a clinical trial for prostate cancer?

Anyone interested in participating in research can search for a trial relevant to them at clinicaltrials.gov, a worldwide database of clinical research that’s run by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Each trial listing includes a phone number potential participants can call to get more information.

The above was excerpted from an article written by Susan Keown, a staff writer at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. For full article, please click here. Ms. Keown has written about health and research topics for a variety of research institutions, including the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reach her at skeown@fredhutch.org.