prostate cancer and diet

Prostate Cancer and Diet

Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

Every man who lives long enough will develop prostate cancer, but it 
is usually a very slow-growing cancer. Most men with prostate cancer 
die from something else, not because of the cancer. Left untreated, 
most prostate cancer will have no effect on the quality or duration 
of a man's life. 

Extensive research has failed to show that prostate cancer is caused 
by infection. The only lead we have is diet. In 1995, Harvard 
researchers showed that tomatoes reduce risk of prostate cancer, and 
they cited lycopene, which belongs to the same class of chemicals 
as beta carotene which is vitamin A, an antioxidant that helps 
protect the genetic material in cells, called DNA, from becoming 
cancerous. A study from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in 
New York found low levels of prostate cancer in men who have high 
levels of lycopene (from cooked tomatoes); and zeaxanthin and 
lutein, found primarily in spinach and other green leafy vegetables. 
Multiple studies by Dr. Ed Giovannucci of Harvard show that a 
plant-based diet is the best way to help prevent prostate cancer. 
A study from the Mayo Clinic shows that flavonoids found in apples, 
onions, tea, and red wine, block hormones that cause prostate cancer 
cells to divide and spread. A study from the University of Hawaii 
showed that prostate cancer occurs much less frequently in men who 
eat yellow and orange vegetables such as corn and carrots, and 
cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. 
A report from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle 
showed that men who eat three or more servings of vegetables a day 
have a 48 percent reduction in prostate cancer compared to those who 
don't eat vegetables. Other studies show that men who eat soy foods, 
which are full of flavones, have a lower incidence of prostate 
cancer. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish also have been shown to help 
prevent prostate cancer. Sardines, salmon, tuna, herring and 
mackerel are rich sources of omega-3's. Eating meat raises your 
chances of developing prostate cancer. So does drinking large 
amounts of milk and taking calcium supplements that deplete your 
body of vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D are a major risk factor 
for prostate cancer.

No one food prevents any specific disease. Soybeans do not prevent 
prostate cancer, but soybeans may be part of a diet that helps to 
prevent prostate cancer. At this time, the best diet to prevent 
prostate cancer is loaded with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, 
beans, nuts and other seeds, and deep-water fish; limits meat and 
whole milk dairy products; and has ample amounts of vitamin D 
(preferably from sunlight). 

Checked 9/21/12