Even though American men have been bombarded for the absolute necessity to get regular checkups and blood work to detect prostate cancer in the early stages, way too many men ignore this warning. Awareness of the risks of prostate cancer has certainly increased, but still one in eight American men will die from this deadly disease.
But if you run regularly, your odds for evading the disease look a whole lot better. At least that’s the findings of recent research.
Data released by the Aerobics Institute of Dallas shows that exercise has great protective benefits. The Institute did a study of 12,000 men over 18 years and the fittest fit men had the lowest risk of prostate cancer. The least fit had the highest risk.
The men who ran about 10 miles a week or more had roughly half the risk of those who did no exercise at all. A total of 44 cases of prostate cancer were reported, but only five occurred in men who ran more than 30 miles per week.
Why running seems to provide some protection is difficult to say, but researchers have theorized that lower levels of testosterone in men who run regularly may be part of the reason why running seems to provide some protection. (Prostate cancer is testosterone dependent for growth.)
Certainly, lifestyle and dietary factors also play an important role in protection from prostate cancer. Runners are less likely to smoke and eat a healthier diet than the average sedentary man. For example, a tomato-rich diet can reduce prostate cancer risk by 35 percent because tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene which researchers believe offers some protection from prostate cancer.
So to protect yourself from prostate cancer, research says you should run more and whenever possible, carbo-load on pasta with a tomato-based sauce.