What We Eat, How Long We Live and Prostate Cancer – Is There A Link?

November 9, 2008

Well…I’m not sure how to approach this. I have mixed feelings cause my comments will be directed 100% at me. Hopefully as you read them you’ll understand where I’m coming from and perhaps, YES PERHAPS, you’ll do what I have chosen to do – TAKE ACTION.

You see…I am a prostate cancer survivor. I’m just a regular guy like anyone else – right now, happy to be alive. I’m one of the lucky ones – I seem to be cancer free (and hope it stays that way).

When I was first diagnosed I did what just about every man I’ve talked do did (or had his partner do), I went to the internet and researched, bought all the books I could find and tried to figure out what to do. I didn’t want to have cancer and I did want a quality of life (assuming that life was an option).

One thing I quickly read was the direct correlation between diet and prostate cancer. It seems that most Americans don’t eat real well. In other words we eat a lot of what we shouldn’t or a lot of what contributes to cancer growth. Big juicy steaks along with high fat diets don’t help when it comes to fighting or “preventing” cancer. Now, let me say…I am not sure that anyone suggests that diet along can prevent prostate cancer, but prostate cancer is lower in populations who have substantially different eating habits that do we Americans.

So to the point…

Some of my regular readers know that I am writing a book on Prostate Cancer and have been doing caseprostate-cancer-cover-3d research to support the book. Thus far less than 5% of the men surveyed – when asked the following question responded – YES. Here’s the question: Once you were diagnosed with Prostate Cancer did you change your diet? The follow up question is: After your treatment for Prostate Cancer did you change your diet?

Most men responded that they did not change their diet at all. In fact, recently one man stated, “Well, after I found out I had cancer it was too late. I figured then I may as well eat the damn steak, the damage was already done.”

Other men reported (and they were a minority – and frankly I would be included in this bunch) that they did change their diet before surgery (or treatment) but once they either had the prostate removed or felt they were cancer free – they (we) went back to our old eating habits. “After all,” as one man reported, “I don’t have a prostate to worry about now.”

I have to admit that writing a book and doing the related research is interesting. When doing that you find that you generally read what others have written in order to do a thoughtful and thorough job. In doing so I was reading by Sheldon Marks, M.D. entitled: Prostate and Cancer – A Family Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment and Survival. In his book the following is written that got my attention. Read it and see what you think.

I had thought David M., a successful businessman in his early 60′s with a fairly aggressive prostate cancer, understood the importance of diet and nutrition. Following a successful prostatectomy, he returned for his follow-up visit. I learned that he continued to eat a high-fat diet. He felt that as long as he took a few supplements, he was fine. He didn’t understand that supplements along weren’t going to make a difference – until the cancer returned. Following additional treatments and a change in his diet, David is doing well, with no evidence of cancer recurrence.

As I read that entry from Dr. Marks book – the words that hit me were: “until the cancer returned.” Now three and one-half years cancer free – perhaps it would be in my best interest to change my diet. I would rather be cancer free and eat right than eat poorly and hear those words said to me.

So what to eat…istock_000000408678small

Basically a Southern Mediterranean diet – per Dr. Marks: garlic, tomatoes, red wine, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, low in beef and dairy products. Likewise, fish, minimal meat, plenty of soy and green tea work as well – a Asian diet. Here’s a list of Prostate friendly foods: Herbs, Soy, Tomatoes, Red Grapes, Peas, Citrius, Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Apples, Watermelon, Rosemary, Fish, Aged garlic, Green tea, Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots.

Which would you rather hear – (1) Wow…you’re looking good, must be eating healthy; or (2) I’m sorry, but your cancer has returned? Don’t know about you, but my eating habits have changed!

Some Links for you:

http://urology.jhu.edu/newsletter/prostate_cancer512.php

http://www.healthcastle.com/prostate_cancer_diet.shtml

http://www.malecare.com/prostate-cancer-diet_47.htm

http://www.malecare.com/milken’s_prostate_cancer_guide.htm

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