Can Diet Help Fight Prostate Cancer?
One of the best treatment steps you can take is losing extra pounds: Obesity is a significant risk factor for prostate cancer and progression of existing cancer.
When Charles Trevino was 65, he was diagnosed with early prostate cancer after a physical. His reaction was typical.
A diagnosis of cancer — any cancer — is a devastating blow. Prostate cancer usually grows so slowly that the cancer cells do not move beyond the gland during a man’s lifetime. It’s also possible to know early on which cancers are less likely to grow quickly. But it’s easy to panic if your case is more iffy.
Tevino felt even worse when he was told that the side effects of surgery or radiation can include erectile dysfunction and chronic urinary problems that would mean he might have to wear what amounted to a diaper.
“Everything was left up to me, Trevino told Fox News, “and I didn’t decide easily.” Instead of having radical treatment, Trevino wound up in a clinical trial called Men’s Eating and Living (MEAL), focused on increasing fruit and vegetable consumption..
Trevino entered the study, feeling he had nothing to lose and, with nutritional counseling, changed his diet to fit the study guidelines. In one year, he lost 20 pounds, decreased his waist size, and his prostate cancer was stabilized.
After that success, Trevino said he was more aware of eating greens and became smarter about how important certain foods are to good health. He let go of the Latino diet on which he was raised, which included high carbs.
“I believe cancer is not a death sentence if you change the way you live, change the way you eat, change the way you (experience) stress,” he said.
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Changing your diet can help prevent cancer
One of the best steps you can take is losing extra pounds: Obesity is a significant risk factor for prostate cancer and for progression of an existing cancer. Meanwhile, there are large regional differences in the incidence of prostate cancer, which may be related to differences in diet.
Many vegetables have chemicals called antioxidants, which reduce free radicals that, once formed, can start a chain reaction of cellular damage that can lead to many diseases. Your body already has a natural system of antioxidants. Foods that contain them are like a booster shot.
Salmon, tomatoes and tomato sauce, soy, and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli may help to prevent or manage prostate cancer, according to the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
Certain foods may help protect us against cancer generally, including carrots, mushrooms, pomegranates, grapes, grapefruit, oranges and other citrus fruits, avocados, peppers and chiles, apples, and berries.
Other foods that help your body’s natural defense system include nuts, seeds, and beans.
At the same time, you can limit how much animal protein you eat to improve the effectiveness of antioxidants in your food.
Men who eat a lot of high-fat dairy and red or processed meat may be at higher risk for prostate cancer. It may also be best to avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and possibly fruit juices (which can be loaded with sugar).
Will diet changes after a cancer diagnosis make a difference?
In one groundbreaking study, men who already had surgery or radiation treatment for the disease received a pill containing essence of pomegranate, green tea, turmeric, and broccoli.
Their PSA levels (a protein used in tests as an indicator of prostate cancer or increased risk) were 63 percent lower after six months compared to those who took a placebo. The foods contained in the pills have previously been thought to fight free radicals, but this study was the first to show a direct effect on men with prostate cancer.
The author of the study, Robert Thomas, an oncologist in Cambridge, England, told The Telegraph that “healthy eating and lifestyle is the main way of helping to combat development of cancer, but men can now also turn to a whole food supplement which has been shown to work.”
If you throw in regular exercise, regular screenings by a specialist (urologist), and purposeful stress reduction such as yoga and meditation, you just may reduce your risk for life, or at least keep the prostate cancer you already have in check for a long time.
September 20, 2022
Janet O’Dell, RN