There are a number of lifestyle choices that impact your prostate health, risk of prostate cancer and other cancers. Even your place of employment can have an impact including stress levels, sleep patterns, and exposure to environmental pollutants and pesticides.
Although nutrition plays a role in the development of prostate cancer, no specific diet can prevent or eradicate this disease. Prostate cancer, like other cancers, is an extremely complex process. Though many risk factors for prostate cancer lie outside of our control, such as increasing age, race and family history, there is strong and consistent evidence that staying at a healthy weight lowers risk for advanced and aggressive prostate cancer.
While you are in treatment for prostate cancer you may have to make changes to deal with the side effects of treatment. Treatment options for prostate cancer are more effective than ever before. Yet, for many men, the diagnosis and treatment of cancer brings to their attention the need to change their diet and exercise behaviors. While the primary focus of the prostate cancer survivor is to live a life free of cancer, more men are beginning to realize that a healthy diet and regular exercise can be an important step toward preventing other diseases that commonly occur with aging, including heart disease and diabetes. Exciting new data suggest that this same approach may also slow prostate cancer growth.
Tips for Healthy Living
- Eat a healthy, plant based diet and limit animal products
- Be physically active
- Seek to maintain a healthy weight
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
- If you use tobacco, stop; if you do not, do not start
- Protect your skin from UV radiation
- Have regular physical exams and talk with your doctor about your risk for prostate and other cancers
A clinical study called MEAL (The Men’s Eating and Living (MEAL) Study: A Randomized Trial of Diet to Alter Disease) is assessing whether a diet-based intervention to increase vegetable and fruit consumption can slow disease progression, and improve the quality of life for men with low-grade prostate cancer who are under active surveillance. Patients who enroll in the MEAL study are randomized either to a group that receives telephone-based dietary counseling and structured dietary education, or to a control group who receives a booklet on nutrition, exercise, and prostate cancer, but no ongoing dietary counseling. To learn more about this study,visit Clinical Trials.gov.
Smoking and Prostate Cancer
Studies show that younger men (under 55) who smoke have a greater chance of prostate cancer spread throughout the body. If you smoke now, consider stopping to improve your overall health. Try to avoid second hand smoke whenever possible. Several recent studies link smoking with prostate cancer relapse. Click the links below to learn more:
- Prostate Cancer Risks Increased in Past and Current Smokers, Study Reveals in HNGN
- Smoking May Be Linked to Prostate Cancer’s Return in U.S. News and World Report
Stay in Touch with your Health Care Team After Treatment
Your doctor and other health care professionals can recommend and schedule follow-up care appointments to look for signs of recurrence and/or manage long-term side effects, answer questions about medications, and refer you to other specialists and support resources. Also, ask your doctor or another member of your health care team to help you fill out a cancer treatment plan and summary, a form that keeps track of information about your cancer and cancer treatment. You may also want to ask about getting a survivorship care plan to outline your follow-up care.
Infection with common sexually transmitted diseases (STD) like trichomoniasis may make men more vulnerable to aggressive prostate cancer. While those who have that form of STD are only slightly more likely to get prostate cancer, those who have prostate cancer are three-times more likely to die from it. Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Sexually Transmitted Diseases website for more information on STDs.
Lack of sleep weakens the immune system. The immune system helps the body fight off infections that can lead to developing cancer.
Studies show that men who drank two or more drinks per day are 20 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer.
Protect Your Skin from the Sun
Protecting your skin from the sun can prevent other problems and is a good habit to embrace for good health. You can reduce your risk of skin cancer by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day and wearing sun-protective clothing and broad-brimmed hats.