Causes of prostate cancer

Cancer is caused by damage to the DNA inside a cell.  If damage occurs in just the right way, the cell can start to divide uncontrollably and create a tumor.  Basically, people get DNA damage and cancer for 3 reasons:

  1. Bad genes or a family history of cancer
  2. Environmental factors, especially the foods we eat and drink
  3. Bad luck or random chance

Because of the family history possibility, if you have any sons then they should consider getting their PSAs checked starting at age 40.

You can not usually pinpoint the cause of your cancer down to one thing.  With lung cancer, you can often blame smoking as the main cause.  With prostate cancer there’s no such smoking gun, pardon the pun!

Some of our foods and drinks have been implicated as risk factors for getting prostate cancer.  This includes the following:

Foods that may cause prostate cancer

  • Dairy products like milk and cheese
  • Sugar and other refined carbohydrates
  • Red meat
  • Excess fat

Foods that may prevent prostate cancer

  • Tofu, tempeh, and beans
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Vegetables

The jury is still out on the dietary causes.  In the chapter on diet I talk about what I consider to be a healthy diet.  You may be surprised.

If you have eaten cheeseburgers, french fries, and soda every day for the last 20 years then that may be your smoking gun.  Don’t beat yourself up though.  I’ve also seen tofu eating vegetarians who exercise and take vitamins every day and somehow they still end up with prostate cancer.

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