Following a healthy lifestyle—such as eating well and doing regular exercise—might reduce the chances of developing fatal prostate cancer in men who are genetically predisposed to it, a new study suggests. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.

Following a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk, new study shows

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston looked at the genetic data of nearly 10,500 men—2,100 who developed prostate cancer over a median follow-up period of 18 years, and almost 240 whose prostate cancer proved lethal over a median follow-up of 22 years.

The study divided the participants into four equal groups. Men with the highest genetic risk were 5.4 times more likely to develop prostate cancer, and 3.5 times more likely to die of it, than men with the lowest genetic risk. 

Researchers found that by following a healthy lifestyle, men at the highest genetic risk of fatal prostate cancer could slash their risk in half: High-risk men who had a healthy lifestyle when the study began had a lifetime lethal prostate cancer incidence of 3%, compared to 6% for high-risk men with the least healthy lifestyle, and 3% for all participants in the study.

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Men at risk benefit from screening, diet

The findings were presented last week during the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). “The excess genetic risk of lethal prostate cancer could be offset by adhering to a healthy lifestyle,” said study co-lead author Anna Plym. “Our findings add to current evidence suggesting that men with a high genetic risk may benefit from a targeted prostate cancer screening program, aiming at detecting a potentially lethal prostate cancer while it is still curable.”

Genetics are believed to account for 58% of prostate cancer risk. According to the American Cancer Society, other risk factors include age (it’s more common in men after age 50, with 60% of cases found after age 65) and race or ethnicity (African-American and Caribbean men have a greater risk). Potential risk factors such as diet, weight, chemical exposures, and sexually transmitted infections, are less clear. 

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What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 13 out of 100 American men will develop prostate cancer during their lifetime. Symptoms of prostate cancer include difficulty or pain while urinating, frequent urination, blood in the urine or semen, painful ejaculation, or pain in the back, hips or pelvis that doesn’t go away. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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