Four causes of cancer we can control

Ritchy Hitoto
Pratt Tribune
Ritchy Hitoto is the head athletic trainer and a sports medicine teacher at Pratt Community College.

Prostate cancer is the second most frequent cancer diagnosis made in men and the fifth leading cause of death worldwide. It is strongly related to the age of the individual and sex, usually men over 65 years old. In 2018, 1,276,106 new cases of prostate cancer were registered worldwide, representing 7.1% of all cancers in men. The age-standardized rate was highest in Oceania (79.1 per 100,000 people) and North America (73.7 %), followed by Europe (62.1%). 

What are some of the cause of risk factors of this disease? Is there any evidence to prevent them? Let us observe some of the causes and see if there are any actions possible toward reduction of the risks. 

Some of the risk factors for this disease are: age, ethnicity, family history and genetic, diet, vitamin and minerals, alcohol consumption, obesity, level of physical activity, smoking, sex hormones and others. Let us study four risk factors that we could control: alcohol, obesity, smoking and diet. 

Alcohol: Heavy alcohol abuse (more than 15 grams of ethanol/day, or more than three drinks per day between wine, liquors or beer) may be a possible risk factor for prostate cancer and other cancers. There is a strong scientific consensus that alcohol drinking can cause several types of cancers. Studies shows that the more a person drink alcohol the more risk of developing alcohol-associated cancer. 

Obesity: Obesity is linked to advanced and aggressive prostate cancer, and high body mass index is associated with more aggressive disease, too, and a worse outcome. Please note that the BMI is not a very accurate measure of good or bad diet. Obesity, particularly when combined with physical inactivity, leads to the development of insulin resistance with reduced glucose uptake. In other words, if you are obese and inactive, it tends to be a serious increase of risk of cancer. 

Smoking: Active and passive exposures to cigarette smoke are considered carcinogenic for many human cancers. In other words, whether you are the smoker or simply inhaling the smoke, you are at risk! Some cohort studies have documented a two to three times higher risk in smokers of more than a pack a day compared with nonsmokers.  

Diet: Dietary factors may play an essential role in the development of prostate cancer as evidenced by several studies on immigrants moving from developing countries (low-risk areas) to industrialized countries (higher risk), that showed how the change to a “westernized” lifestyle induced a shift towards an increased prostate cancer incidence. 

Now, that some of causes have been exposed, what can we do about it? 

Reduction: Reduction of consumption of any of those toxic and addictive substances will dramatically reduce your risks. It is possible to lower the risk by limiting high-fat foods, increasing the intake of vegetables and fruits and performing more exercise. 

Monitoring: Monitoring and controlling what we eat and drink and keeping it under control will also be a major helper in the reduction of risks. Selecting with wisdom what we put in our bodies will not only reduce the risk factors but also energize our bodies. (cf. Pratt Tribune Journal June 16th 2021 article for more info) 

Exercise: Exercise is supposedly one of the easiest modifiable risk factors to manage in a way to obtain many benefits and relatively few side effects when it comes to prostate cancer prevention. Following a regular exercise program or having regular physical activities will always be beneficial. Our bodies are made to move whether the activity is simple walks in the parks, weight lifting, use of cardiovascular machine, a fitness class, yoga, team sports, tennis, racket, badminton, fitness videos, etc. The key is simply to get moving!