Simple modifications in food habits, including adopting a diet rich in cereals, fish and green leafy vegetables, can drastically reduce chances of prostate cancer, considered to be one of the most common cancers among men. Roughly the size of a walnut, it is through the prostate that the urethra - the tube carrying urine and semen out of the body - goes through. Besides producing a fluid that forms part of the semen and protects the sperm, the prostate gland also plays a role in urine control.
The sixth leading cause of cancer deaths among males, prostate cancer is linked to family history of the disease and age. Doctors said research also indicates that a diet rich in red meat and high-fat dairy products predisposes men to the risk of this cancer.
"High fatty diet and red meat are the main causes of prostate cancer," P K Julka, Head of the Department Oncology All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), told IANS.
As September has been dedicated to create awareness on prostate cancer, experts said early symptoms vary from man to man. One should look for frequent, difficult or painful urination, not being able to urinate, blood in the urine, painful ejaculation or frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs.
Doctors said, if one notices one or more of these symptoms for more than two weeks, the best was to see a doctor.
Julka said men with higher consumption of fatty products have been found to be more prone to getting prostate cancer. He suggests low-fat diet that restricts red meat, oils and dairy products such as milk and cheese.
Studies of men who drink green tea or take green tea extract as a supplement have also found reduced risk of prostate cancer that occurs in the male reproductive system.
Considered to be one of the most common types of cancer in men, it usually grows slowly and initially remains confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. But some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.
Vineet Talwar, consultant oncologist, Rajeev Gandhi Cancer Hospital, said: "While age is a factor that nobody can control, certain dietary modifications throughout your life can certainly help you cut the risk of getting afflicted with the disease."
Choosing a healthy diet is imperative in reducing the risk of this global killer, he added.
However, Talwar said, consumption of fats from plants is generally preferable to that from animals. For instance, cook with olive oil rather than butter or sprinkle nuts and seeds rather than cheese.
"An increased amount of fruits and vegetables that are full of vitamins and minerals can add several benefits to your diets. So will a diet that includes tofu - a product made from soy beans - which again has been linked to reduced prostate cancer risks," Talwar told IANS.
Sugary candy and soda as well as starchy foods such as white bread and white rice are all high-glycemic carbs, which spark inflammation.
One recent study found that men who ate the most sweet, starchy food were 64 per cent more likely to develop advanced prostate cancer.
According to Sudhir Khanna, consultant urologist, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, eating a big bowl of cereal, substituting cow's milk with soy, including fish in the diet and eating several servings of spinach and other leafy greens per week may cut the risk of prostate cancer."