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Men's Health and Cancer

Updated: Dec 9, 2019

Did you know?

Men’s (and everyone’s) health is important. This article provides information about men’s health particularly nutrition and other lifestyle factors in relation to cancer.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease of the body’s cells. As cancerous cells can arise from almost any type of tissue cell, cancer actually refers to about 100 different diseases. While the big C word is feared by everyone it is becoming more and more common in Australia. It is estimated by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare that 145,000 cases will be diagnosed in Australia this year, with that number predicted to rise in 2020.

What about men?

More men have been diagnosed with cancer in 2019 and men have a lower life expectancy from cancer compared to women. The most common cancer diagnosisamong men is prostate cancer. The relationship between prostate cancer and diet is not widely researched and studies are not of high grade evidence (Peisch et al., 2017). However, widely recommended lifestyle behaviours such as not smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight, and exercising appear to lower the risk of prostate cancer.

Reducing your risk

The Cancer Council recommend 7 steps to reduce your risk of cancer through lifestyle changes. It is important to note these changes are not specific to any one type of cancer or a specific population group. These are general behaviours supported by evidence that help to improve your overall health and lower your risk of cancer:

- Cease smoking

  • Smoking increases your risk of lung cancer.

- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet

  • Eating healthy helps to maintain a healthy weight. Go for 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit.

- Maintain a healthy weight

  • Being overweight and physically inactive increases your risk of cancer.

- Be SunSmart

  • Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Australia.

- Limit alcohol

  • Alcohol increases the risk of bowel, breast, mouth, throat, oesophageal and liver cancer. The guidelines recommend at least 2 alcohol free days a week and no more than 2 standard drinks a day.