6 ways to reduce prostate cancer risk and improve outcomes

Excerpt: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and if detected early, the survival rate is close to 100%. Regular exercise, healthy eating and maintaining a healthy body weight have been shown to lower prostate cancer risk and may help to reduce the risk of recurrence during and after treatment. Personalized early detection strategies and advances in treatment are also improving outcomes and quality of life for patients.


Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and if detected early, the survival rate is close to 100%. Regular exercise, healthy eating and maintaining a healthy body weight have been shown to lower prostate cancer risk and may help to reduce the risk of recurrence during and after treatment. Personalized early detection strategies and advances in treatment are also improving outcomes and quality of life for patients.

Building awareness about advances in prevention, diagnosis and treatment is especially important because if this condition is detected early, the survival rate is close to 100%.

Here are some important ways to lower prostate cancer risk and benefit from early detection and effective treatment:

  1. Exercise for prevention and lower risk of recurrence.
    Being physically active cuts the risk of developing prostate cancer by 50%,* according to an International Journal of Epidemiology study. Prostate cancer patients who exercise regularly during and after treatment may also reduce their risk of the disease coming back and have improved survival rates,* says University of Alberta.

  2. Healthy eating matters.
    A healthy eating pattern including plenty of fruits, vegetables, tofu, soybeans, fish, brown bread and nuts or peanut butter (while limiting fatty foods, sweets, and dairy products) is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer and especially high-grade cancer,* reported a 2020 University of Montreal study. The same healthy foods and nutrients that help prevent prostate cancer may also reduce the recurrence risk,* advises the BC Cancer Agency.

  3. Maintain a healthy body weight.
    A University of Oxford study found men with a healthy body weight had a reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer.* Maintaining a healthy body weight and other healthy lifestyle habits are associated with a lower risk of recurrence and improved survival as well.*

  4. Personalize early detection.
    There is no perfect test for finding prostate cancer early. Talk to your doctor about the best early detection strategy for you. Discuss family history and other risk factors, your age, possible symptoms, a digital rectal exam (DRE), and the benefits and limitations of a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening test.* Researchers are developing newer tests that may be more accurate than the standard PSA test by combining the results of several forms of PSA or other tumour markers,* according to the American Cancer Society.

  5. Active surveillance for low-risk cancer.
    When deciding which treatments to offer for prostate cancer, the healthcare team will consider the type and stage, possible side effects, age, and personal preferences, and classify prostate cancer based on the risk that it will recur.* While men in the high-risk group are usually offered aggressive treatment, men in the low-risk group may be offered active surveillance without immediate treatment since in some cases prostate cancer may be very slow-growing. The healthcare team will likely do tests every 3 to 6 months and begin treatment if there are signs the disease is starting to progress.*

  6. More precision in diagnosis and treatment.
    Newer lab tests, known as genomic or proteomic tests, may be used along with information from PSA levels, biopsies, and imaging tests to more accurately distinguish between aggressive and slow-growing prostate cancer to determine the best course of treatment.* For men with localized prostate cancer, a new, noninvasive technique that focuses sound waves on the tumor area and leaves healthy tissue alone is more effective than surgery and radiation, without the lasting side effects,* reported a 2021 University of Toronto study.

*The following sources provide references for this blog, in order of appearance:
1. Canadian Cancer Society. “Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.” (2021), online: https://www.prostatecancer.ca/Get-Involved/Events/Awareness-Month
2. Canadian Cancer Society. “Prostate cancer statistics.” (2021), online: https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/prostate/statistics/?region=sk#:~:text=It%20is%20estimated%20that%20about%201%20in%209,For%20more%20information%2C%20go%20to%20Canadian%20Cancer%20Statistics.
3. Canadian Cancer Society. “Together – we will end prostate cancer.” (2021), online: https://www.prostatecancer.ca/Prostate-Cancer/About-Prostate-Cancer/Statistics
4. Science Daily. “Being active reduces the risk of prostate cancer.” (2019), online: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191204201019.htm
5. University of Alberta. “Exercise may risk of cancer recurrence and improve survival rates.” (2019), online: https://www.ualberta.ca/folio/2019/10/exercise-may-reduce-risk-of-cancer-recurrence-and-improve-survival-rates.html#:~:text=Updated%20guidelines%20for%20physicians%20include%20evidence-based%20exercise%20%22prescriptions%22,latest%20guidelines%20released%20today%20about%20exercise%20and%20cancer.
6. Nutrients. “Dietary patterns are associated with risk of prostate cancer in a population-based case-control study in Montreal, Canada.” (2020), online: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/7/1907/htm
7. BC Cancer Agency. “Nutrition guide for men with prostate cancer.” (2014), online: http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/nutrition-site/documents/patient%20education/nutrition_guide_for_men_with_prostate_cancer.pdf#:~:text=In%20men%20diagnosed%20with%20prostate%20cancer%20studies%20suggest,Schroder%20et%20al%2C%202005%2C%20Kranse%20et%20al%2C%202005%29.h
8. University of Oxford. “Healthy body weight reduces risk of aggressive prostate cancer – Dr. David Samaldi.” (2016), online: https://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/05/prweb13439359.htm
9. Canadian Cancer Society. “Diagnosis of prostate cancer.” (2021), online: https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/prostate/diagnosis/?region=on
10. American Cancer Society. “What’s new in prostate cancer research?” (2020), online: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/new-research.html
11. University of Toronto. “Prostate cancer treatment leaves men disease-free after blasting tumors with sound waves.” (2021), online: https://www.studyfinds.org/prostate-cancer-sound-waves-cure/