There are many factors that increase your risk of developing prostate cancer including age, race, family history, and diet. But there's one random risk factor that is actually a big one to consider: sitting too much.
Not only can sitting too much lead to obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle, but it can also increase your risk of developing prostate cancer by at least 16%. As your activity level drops, your blood levels of a certain protein linked to prostate cancer increase, according to research published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.
The researchers monitored the participants' exercise levels and found that those men who were sedentary for an extra hour in the day had a 16% greater risk of having elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. On the contrary, men who had an extra hour of exercise per day were 18% less likely to have big PSA scores.
Because this study did not measure the rates of prostate cancer in the men with increased PSA levels, it is hard to say that a sedentary lifestyle is linked to prostate cancer. We can, however conclude that having a sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity, which could flood your body with sex hormones, inflame body tissue, and increase your resistance to insulin – all of which can contribute to prostate cancer and an increased risk of the disease.
Elevated PSA levels were once believed to be a huge red flag for prostate cancer. Nowadays, most doctors know that high PSA levels could be a false alarm. Previously, high PSA levels were used as reason to biopsy the prostate, but now it may lead to sedentary men being put through invasive biopsies only to find that they do not have cancer.
Now that we have the understanding of PSA levels of our risk of prostate cancer, doctors will be taking those into consideration along with medications, family history, and prostate exam results, when determining who is in need of a biopsy.
PSA levels can provide an important piece of information for your doctor when deciding whether to biopsy your prostate. It just should not be the only one.
Although prostate cancer is a common cancer in men, we understand that it is most likely foreign to you. A cancer diagnosis often doesn't come with a warning and can be very scary. The Urological Institute of Northeastern New York at Community Care Physicians understands. We can help you with what to expect and how to prepare for what comes next.