Following a Healthy Lifestyle can prevent Prostate Cancer
Dr. N Subramanian
Sr. Consultant – Urology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals
For men of a certain vintage, the issue of prostate enlargement and cancers are a troubling reality. A large section of the male population the world over report prostrate related issues after the age of 50. Repeated studies indicate a consistent rise in most countries in Asia over the last 25 years. It is the most common male cancer in the USA and the second most common in the European Union.
For the uninitiated, the Prostrate is a walnut sized organ forming part of the male reproductive system. It is located near the bladder and its main function is to produce fluid, which protects and enriches sperm. Over time there is propensity for the prostrate to enlarge or develop a cancer. Studies on prostate cancer suggest that there is a strong relationship between lifestyle changes and prevention. Studies also suggest that intensive lifestyle changes can also impede the progress of the cancer.
So can lifestyle changes really beat prostate cancer?
A large pool of medical research now exists that suggests that intensive changes in diet and lifestyle may beneficially affect the progression and prevention of prostate cancer. A seminal work by Dean Ornish et al in 2005 highlighted the role of diet and exercise in the prevention of cancer. Similarly, a much cited work by Mills et al in 1989 on the relationship between diet, lifestyle and prostate cancer in Adventist men, found that increasing consumption of beans, lentils and peas, tomatoes, raisin, dates, and other dried fruit were all associated with significantly decreased prostate cancer risk.
The NHS quotes The Daily Telegraph that a vegan, low-fat diet combined with yoga and exercise can help fight prostate cancer. In sum, significant evidence is out there to highlight the benefits of lifestyle changes in preventing prostate cancer. So what can you do?
The World Cancer Research Fund has published eight lifestyle recommendations that can help you beat prostate cancer. These include
- Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight
- Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day
- Avoid sugary drinks. Limit consumption of energy-dense foods
- Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans
- Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats
If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to 2 for men
- Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium).
- Don’t use supplements to protect against cancer – The Harvard Medical School predicts that 73% of men with prostate cancer take non-prescription supplements, which is not desirable. A doctor’s advice is the best way forward on the supplements for you.
A study by the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostrate Cancer Project of men between 40-70 years of age found that men who adhered to fewer than four of the WCRF recommendations were at a much higher risk (38% higher) of developing aggressive tumors than those who adhered to more than four. So the benefits are for real.
There is only so much we can do in fight against cancer. Remember to get a preventive health check done if you are over 40. After 50, a specific annual test for prostrate health maybe recommended by your doctor. Better still; tell your dad, husband, brother or any relative of the need for early testing and detection. Prevention remains our key weapon against prostate cancer. Couple this with fat restricted diet, cholesterol management, exercise and stress management and your armamentarium is complete. Till next time B Positive.