Prostate Cancer

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Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention TOPICS

Can prostate cancer be prevented?

There is no sure way to prevent prostate cancer. Many risk factors such as age, race, and family history can’t be controlled. But there are some things you can do that might lower your risk of prostate cancer.

Body weight, physical activity, and diet

The effects of body weight, physical activity, and diet on prostate cancer risk are not clear, but there are things you can do that might lower your risk, such as:

  • Eating at least 2½ cups of a wide variety of vegetables and fruits each day.
  • Being physically active.
  • Staying at a healthy weight.

For more information, see the American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention.

Vitamin, mineral, and other supplements

Some earlier studies suggested that taking certain vitamin or mineral supplements, such as vitamin E or selenium, might lower prostate cancer risk. But in a large study, neither vitamin E nor selenium was found to lower prostate cancer risk.

Several studies are now looking at the possible effects of soy proteins (called isoflavones) on prostate cancer risk. The results of these studies are not yet available.

Any supplement has the potential for both risks and benefits. Before starting vitamins or other supplements, talk with your doctor.


Some drugs might help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

5-alpha reductase inhibitors

The drugs finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart) have been studied to see if they can lower prostate cancer risk, but it’s not clear if the benefits outweigh the risks for most men. Still, men who want to know more about these drugs should discuss them with their doctors. These drugs are currently used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous growth of the prostate.


Some research suggests that men who take a daily aspirin might have a lower risk of getting and dying from prostate cancer. But more research is needed to show if the possible benefits outweigh the risks, such as an increased risk of bleeding.

Other drugs

Other drugs and dietary supplements that might help lower prostate cancer risk are now being tested in clinical trials. But so far, none have been proven to do so.

For more on these topics, see Prostate Cancer Prevention and Early Detection.

Last Medical Review: 02/16/2016
Last Revised: 03/11/2016