What is the prostate and what is prostate cancer? The prostate is a gland found only in the male body and it is responsible for producing some of the fluid in semen. Simply put, cancer can occur in any part of the body when cells grow in an abnormal way. Prostate cancer is common and as such it has been presented as a case of, it’s not if but when you get it. According to the American Cancer Society prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in men and 1 in 7 men in their lifetime will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. (1) Luckily, it is usually slow growing and many men live healthy long lives and do not even know they have it.
Although no diet can guarantee you will not develop cancer there is evidence that diets high in sodium, processed meat, sugar and refined carbohydrates contribute to increased rates of cancer.
Just as we have data indicating common dietary risk factors for cancer we also have data about dietary and lifestyle habits that reduce risk. (2)
Multiple studies have shown an inverse relationship between physical activity and prostate cancer-this means that increasing physical activity reduces rates of prostate cancer. In a large case control study conducted in china, researches found that increasing overall physical activity reduced risk of developing prostate cancer by 50%. (3) For adults the physical activity guidelines that have been established for overall good health are: 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity.
Diets that include plant-based nutrients are recommended for prostate health as well as overall health. Adults eating about 2,000 calories per day should include a minimum of 5 servings of vegetables per day; a serving is ½ cup cooked vegetable or 1 cup of raw veggies. Raw tomatoes, canned tomatoes, vegetable juice cocktail, pink grapefruit and watermelon are all sources of a plant nutrient called lycopene. Observational studies are providing mounting evidence that lycopene may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. (4)(5)
- Cancer Facts and Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2017, from https://www.cancer.org/research/cancer-facts-statistics.html
- Prostate Cancer. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2017, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer.html
- Reulen, R. C., et al. (2017). Physical activity and risk of prostate and bladder cancer in China: The South and East China case-control study on prostate and bladder cancer. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5456085/
- Mohanty NK, Saxena S, Singh UP, et al. Lycopene as a chemopreventive agent in the treatment of high-grade prostate intraepithelial neoplasia. Urol Oncol 2005;23:383-5.
- Lycopene and prostate cancer: emerging evidence. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2017, from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1586/1473718.104.22.1687