- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Researchers are increasingly acknowledging the links between what we eat and prostate cancer.
Growing evidence shows that diet influences not only the development of prostate cancer but also the severity of the disease, its spread and the likelihood of death due to prostate cancer, according to Dr. Philippa Cheetham, a urology cancer expert who has written extensively on diet and prostate cancer.
Damage to the cell’s DNA due to oxidation has been implicated as an important cause of cancer. Diets with a high proportion of saturated fat, red meat and processed foods cause damage to cells due to oxidation and have been shown to be related to prostate cancer.
In contrast, tomatoes and vegetables containing antioxidants and diet that is low in fat can protect the cells against potential damage due to oxidation.
Green tea has been shown to have a protective effect against prostate cancer in various laboratory and clinical studies. The green tea polyphenol (GTP) is said to play a protective role at various stages of prostate cancer development. Studies have shown a significant reduction in precancerous changes in the prostate (PIN changes) in people who drink green tea.
Studies done at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have shown the benefits of pomegranate extract in slowing the rise of PSA (prostate specific antigen). PSA doubling time (PSADT) is often used a marker to measure the progression of prostate cancer. In the study led by Dr. Michael Carducci at Johns Hopkins, patients who received pomegranate extract daily for up to 18 months increased the doubling time of their PSA from 11.9 months to 18.5 months.
Earlier hopes that selenium and Vitamin E may be beneficial in prostate cancer prevention have been dashed. In fact, there was an increase in prostate cancer in patients who were given synthetic alpha-tocopherol vitamin E. Saw palmetto extract also did not have any effect on the PSA levels even at high doses.
While more studies are needed to confirm these effects, the popular perception that vitamins and other supplements are benign and always beneficial is to be questioned.
Resveratrol, a compound found in red wines and grape skins, has been shown to improve the response of prostate cancer to treatment with radiation, according to Dr. Michael Nicholl, a researcher at the University of Missouri. Animal studies have also shown some protective effect of resveratrol in preventing prostate cancer.
In summary, if you want to improve your chances of preventing prostate cancer, reduce red meat consumption (especially pan-fried meat), and add tomatoes to your diet. Green tea, pomegranate juice or red wine could help you wash it down!
Udaya Kumar. M.D., FRCS Urol, Dip. Urol (London), is certified by the American Board of Urology and the Board of Urology of U.K. and Ireland. He is a former professor of urology with University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Contact him at 3475 S. Suncoast Blvd., Homosassa, FL 34448 or 352-628-7671.