The UCSF “healthy lifestyle” score

Even though there is little to no clear data that any particular behaviors will lower risk for diagnosis with prostate cancer in general, we do now have data on the possibility that a select set of specific behaviors will lower risk for lethal forms of prostate cancer (the ones that actually lead to men’s deaths).

In a study formally published by Kenfield et al. in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in  2016, the authors provided data about a combination of six things that men could do that appear to lower risk for diagnosis with lethal forms of prostate cancer. The six things are:

  • Being a non-smoker or having stopped smoking at least 10 years earlier
  • Having a BMI < 30 kg/m2
  • Having a high level of vigorous physical activity
  • Having a diet high in intake of tomatoes
  • Having a diet high in intake of fatty fish (e.g., salmon)
  • Having a diet low in intake of processed meat

The UCSF “healthy lifestyle” score — based on one point for meeting each of the above criteria — therefore ranges from a minimum of zero if you don’t meet any of them (not good at all) to a maximum of six if you meet them all (way better, and relatively easy to achieve for most men).

By adhering to these “healthy lifestyle” criteria, it appears that there is a reduction in risk for diagnosis with lethal forms of prostate cancer by somewhere between about 40 and 70 percent, which is not to be sneezed at. It is also worth noting that by meeting these healthy lifestyle criteria men are almost certainly also helping to achieve a bunch of other good healthcare goals that will help to prevent all sorts of other disorders — including things like cardiovascular diseases and type II diabetes.

For more information about the study by Kenfield and her colleagues, see our original report on this research from late 2015.

On the other hand, there is no evidence at all that meeting these criteria will

  • Stop all men who meet them from being diagnosed with lethal prostate cancer
  • Stop any men from being diagnosed with low-risk, non-lethal forms of prostate cancer

So if you want to meet these goals to lower your risk for prostate cancer-specific death, that’s fine, but don’t get the idea that ifr you meet all these goals you will never be diagnosed with prostate cancer or you have eliminated your chance of dying from it!

Content of this page last reviewed and updated February 17, 2016
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