If you’ve just been diagnosed
Try to stay positive; the good news is that the 5-year survival rate for most men with localized prostate cancer – that’s cancer that hasn’t spread – is almost 100%. Though there are many risk factors for prostate cancer that are beyond our control – such as age, family history, ethnicity and so on – there are various lifestyle choices that you can make to improve your chances.
Take a look at your diet
While no one is suggesting that there is a diet out there that is capable of curing prostate cancer, ensuring optimum nutrition can help strengthen the immune system. Try to include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet. Several studies suggest that diets high in certain vegetables may be linked with a lower risk of prostate cancer; cruciferous vegetables are said to be particularly good – so make a beeline for broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. According to the American Cancer Institute, tomato consumption has been linked to lower instances of prostate cancer – thanks to the antioxidant lycopene, that they contain.
When choosing carbohydrates, try to stick to wholegrain varieties, be it brown rice, wholegrain bread or whole-wheat pasta. Nuts and seeds are good sources of healthy fats and nutrients, including the antioxidant vitamin E. Anything to avoid? Some studies have found that diets rich in red meat, dairy products, and animal fat may raise prostate cancer risk – so it might be wise to limit consumption of those foods.
Additionally, prostate cancer’s ability to spread appears to be affected by what you eat too, according to recent research contained in journal Nature Genetics. Cancer cells can become more aggressive and spread beyond the prostate itself when they have plentiful access to fat – suggesting that a low-fat diet is the way to go.
What else can you do?
You might consider adding supplements to ensure your diet is providing you with the optimum level of all the nutrients you need. This can be helpful if there are gaps in your diet, but be wary of any ‘magic’ supplements that appear to promise the world. It’s important to avoid nutritional myths so you don’t waste money on supplements that won’t do you any real good.
It’s important to stay physically active. Keeping to a healthy weight has been shown to reduce the risk of getting the most dangerous, aggressive form of prostate cancer; exercise can help with mood too.
The bottom line is, get checked early. Digging your head in the sand will not help. Far better to learn all you can about your condition so you are in a position to make informed decisions and take positive action.