When it comes to risk factors and prostate cancer, there are factors that are within your grasp to change, such as lifestyle and dietary habits, and others that you have no control over (such as genetics). For years, there have been warnings concerning the links between smoking and health issues such as lung cancer and emphysema, but the ties between prostate cancer and smoking have rarely been mentioned. Now, after several studies and literature reviews it’s clear that quitting the smoking habit will improve your chances of staying healthy and cancer-free from nearly all types of cancers, including prostate.
What Do the Studies Show?
Researchers reviewed studies dating back to 2000 posting results in the medical journal JAMA Oncology. Essentially, current smokers are at a much higher risk of developing prostate cancer–but the concern doesn’t stop there. When it comes to metastasis, (tumors and cancers growing in other parts of the body that are different from the cancer’s origin) smokers were 251% more likely to have metastasized prostate cancer. The chance of biochemical recurrence in smokers is 40% more than non-smokers, and when it comes to mortality rates, smokers held an 89% higher risk than non-smokers. Former smokers are also at 19% more risk of biochemical recurrence.
The last statistic is an important one, as all it takes to become a former smoker is to kick the habit. This is easier said than done for most cigarette smokers, and there are often many attempts to quit before success.
Tips to Quit Smoking
Luckily, there is much more help available to quit smoking in modern times than there was several decades ago. When it comes to tips, the most obvious ones are often laundry-list items, such as:
- Call a quitline
- Ask your doctor for nicotine gum or a nicotine patch (known as nicotine replacement therapy)
- Ask your doctor about pharmaceuticals (there are prescription medications that can aid with quitting)
- Keep in mind that even your urologist can help you kick the habit
However, the good advice doesn’t end there. According to the American Lung Association, one of the best things you can do as a smoker who’s trying to quit is to go easy on yourself. Rarely does someone “get it right” on the first try. Give yourself time, and allow yourself to fail. The most important thing is to get back on the quit train immediately.
Other tried-and-true tips include:
- Be aware of situations when you know you’ll want a cigarette. If it’s common to have a cigarette with your morning coffee, switch up your routine. If you regularly smoke while driving, arm yourself with hard candy or gum.
- Re-do your routine. Changing many things up at once can “shake up” the urge to smoke.
- Be mindful of triggers. Obviously, you can’t eliminate every stressful trigger in your life, but being aware of them and prepared for them is half the battle.
- Find a quit buddy. If a close friend or family member also smokes and wants to quit, you can both set a quit start day together. Alternatively, ask for motivation or advice from a former smoker.
Other Prostate Cancer Risks
Quitting smoking is one of the healthiest decisions you’ll ever make. Not only will it help prevent cancer, you’ll look better, feel better, and even smell better. However, there are some other risks to be aware of if prostate cancer is a concern.
There are some prostate cancer risks you cannot control, and these concern your genetics. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, tall height, African-American ethnicity, and a family history of prostate cancer all pose strong risks.
There are other healthy lifestyle changes you can make to help lessen the risk of prostate cancer. Eating a healthy diet and having a non-sedentary life are both paramount. It can be tough to get up and exercise 45 minutes a day, three times per week (which is usually the standard recommendation), but it’s perfectly okay to start out slow. Try swimming, cycling, or go for a brisk walk in the evening. Simply getting outside and becoming active can help lower the risk. Also, those with a high calcium intake also have a link to higher incidence of prostate cancer, so the Prostate Cancer Foundation warns against too much calcium in the diet as well. For more information about risks of prostate cancer and how to help prevent this disease, make an appointment with Mississippi Urology Clinic, PLLC today. With caring and experienced doctors, we have several Mississippi Urology Clinic locations for your convenience. We’re here to help you take charge of your health.