Until we have definitive answers from prostate cancer prevention clinical trials, here’s what you can do to best prevent prostate cancer from recurring.
Keep within a healthy weight range
Weight gain is never good, but when it comes before prostate cancer surgery, the surgical outcome is compromised. Johns Hopkins epidemiologists reported in 2011 in the journal Cancer Prevention Research that prostate cancer patients who gain 5 pounds or more near the time of their surgery are twice as likely to have a recurrence of their cancer after surgery as patients whose weight is stable.
The researchers, led by Corinne Joshu, Ph.D., surveyed men whose cancer was localized. Surgery should have cured most of them, yet some cancers still recurred. According to Joshu, obesity and weight gain may be factors that tipped the scales toward recurrence.
Joshu and her colleagues sent questionnaires to 1,337 prostate cancer patients who had undergone surgery to remove their prostates at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The men were asked to remember their dietary, lifestyle, and medical factors from five years before their operation through one year postsurgery. It turned out that body weight did play a role in surgical outcomes.
On average, the study participants who gained weight reported that they had put on about 10 pounds in the five years before surgery and one year following the operation. Those men whose weight increased more than about 5 pounds during that time had twice the rate of recurrence than men whose weight held steady.
Make healthy food choices
What’s good for the heart is good for the prostate. Eating healthy means making better choices about food purchases, preparation, and cooking. Epidemiologic evidence shows that in cultures (Japan, for example) where people consume the exact opposite of standard American fare, men have lower incidences of heart disease and cancer.
When deciding on what to eat—and what not to eat— consider these recommendations from the American Heart Association:
• Balance calorie intake and physical activity to achieve or maintain a healthy body weight.
• Consume a diet rich in vegetables and fruits.
• Choose whole-grain, high-fiber foods.
• Consume fish, especially oily fish, at least twice a week.
• Limit your intake of saturated fat to 7 percent of calories, trans fat to 1 percent, and cholesterol to 300 milligrams per day by choosing lean meats and vegetable alternatives, selecting fat-free (skim), 1 percent fat, and low-fat dairy products, and minimizing your intake of partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats).
• Minimize your intake of beverages and foods with added sugars.
Regular physical activity protects you from heart disease, the No. 1 killer of men. Research has shown that exercise can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduce your risk of diabetes and some cancers, and protect your brain from Alzheimer’s, the brain-robbing disease that is now becoming all too prevalent in our later years.
Want more? Regular exercise improves the odds of erections in later years.
Need a little more convincing? Recent research also suggests that a healthy lifestyle may reduce your risk of death from prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men. And this protection also applies to patients who already have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Smoking is one of the worst lifestyle choices you can make. In a study of patients with prostate cancer who were or were not cigarette smokers, the risk of death from prostate cancer among smokers was small when compared with nonsmokers. But that’s because those who smoke often die of other causes and not prostate cancer.
For more, find out Why Prostate Supplements Don’t Work.