Nutrition’s Role in Prostate Cancer

 Nutrition may help fight prostate cancer

Nutrition may help fight prostate cancer. Through research I have discovered that nutrition can slow or inhibit the growth of my prostate cancer.

 Nutrition may help fight prostate cancer. Through research I have discovered that nutrition can slow or inhibit the growth of my prostate cancer. Nutrition can also strengthen my immune system. While many different food groups are beneficial, some food groups have actually been associated with causing prostate cancer.

      Studies suggest that variation in diet and lifestyle may account for the inconsistent rates of prostate cancer around the world. The county of Qidong in China has the lowest recorded incidence rate, 0.5 per 100,000 men. By comparison, Sweden has a rate of 55.3 per 100,000 men and the U.S. has a rate of 102.1 per 100,000 men (Parkin, 1997).

      Several recent research studies into the cancer-fighting activity of natural substances within soy, tea, garlic, grapes, strawberries, tomatoes, and chocolate appear to hold promise. In contrast, several studies have found an association between prostate cancer and dietary fat in substances such as red meat, vegetable oil and dairy products.


prostate cancer

      There may be a relationship between the consumption of soyfoods and decreased risk for prostate cancer. Although tofu, soymilk and soycheese are among the most common soy foods, soy product manufactures are finding many tasty ways to replace the meat in your diet with soy meat alternatives (History of the Soybean, 1999).

      The isoflavones genistein and daidzein found in soy protein are receiving most of the attention by the research organizations. Several research facilities are currently evaluating the effects of isoflavones on various types of cancer (Soy and the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer, 1999).


      According to Chinese legend, green tea was discovered over 4,000 years ago. Since then, traditional Chinese medicine has recommended green tea for several health related problems including cancer. Modern research has confirmed many of these health benefits. Potent antioxidants called polyphenols found in green tea are believed to be responsible in blocking the formation of cancer-causing compounds such as nitrosamines, suppressing the activation of carcinogens, and detoxifying or trapping cancer causing agents (Herb Information, 1999).


      The University of Texas Center for Alternative Medicine Research (1999), states Garlic has been shown to have the ability to lower blood pressure, serum cholesterol, and to aid in digestion. It also stimulates the immune system and is a natural antibiotic and antioxidant. Eating garlic regularly may also reduce the risk of cancer.

      Raw garlic is highest in beneficial activity, and can be taken daily. The substance related to garlic’s medicinal qualities is also the same substance that produces garlic’s distinctive scent. The odor loses some intensity when cooked, and the longer garlic is cooked the less effective it is as a therapy (Garlic Summary, 1999).

      A substance, known as resveratrol (pronounced rez-VER-a-trawl), is one of a group of compounds (called phytoalexins) found in the skin of red grapes (Resveratrol in Grapes Fights Cancer, 1997).

A group of scientists led by Dr. John Pezzuto described how resveratrol prevents cancer in test tubes and in animals. Their preliminary tests showed that resveratrol may interfere with the development of cancer in three different ways: by blocking the action of cancer-causing agents, by inhibiting the development and growth of tumors, and by causing precancerous cells to revert to normal ("Friends for Life" Health Bulletin, 1997). My medical oncologist recommends a daily consumption between ½ and 1 cup of fresh red seedless grapes everyday.

      Most people eat strawberries just because they taste great. Substances within those delicious red berries have been connected to cancer prevention. One such substance is ellagic acid. Being a complex molecule demonstrating a variety of anticarcinogenic activities, ellagic acid is receiving a multitude of well-deserved attention from research organizations (Carcinogenesis, 1996). Although it's not yet known how much ellagic acid must be consumed to produce beneficial effects, many prostate cancer doctors recommend strawberries in your daily diet. In fact, Dr. Stephen Strum of the Prostate Cancer Research Center located in Los Angeles, CA. advises a serving of ½ cup sliced, per day (Strum, 1998).

      How do you like your tomatoes? Lycopene, a key substance in tomatoes, is more easily absorbed when the tomatoes are cooked and a small amount of olive oil is added to increase solubility (Barken, 1999). Lycopene is a proven anti-oxidant that may lower the risk of certain diseases including cancer and heart disease (Lycopene: The Facts, 1998). Tests in the laboratory have suggested that processed tomato products contain greater amounts of lycopene than raw tomatoes (Processed Tomato Products a Good Source of Lycopene, 1999).

       In a study by Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, the diets of more than 47,000 men were studied. The tomato products showed a reduced prostate cancer risk. As consumption of tomato products increased, levels of lycopene in the blood increased, and the risk for prostate cancer decreased (Lycopene: The Facts, 1998). Many medical oncologists recommend 8 to 10 servings per week.


      A search of the Internet on chocolate revealed some information guaranteed to put a smile on the faces of chocoholics. Studies have shown that on a weight basis, the polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant, in milk chocolate is higher than in red wines and black or green teas. It is 20 times higher than in tomatoes, 2 times higher than in garlic, and over 3 times higher than in grapes. Dark chocolate provides more than twice the level of polyphenols as milk chocolate per serving, and white chocolate has no antioxidant content (Is Candy Dandy For Your Heart?, 1999).

      Cocoa butter contains a fatty acid called stearic acid. In the lab dish stearic acid kills prostate cancer cells, but fat free cocoa does not. It is imperative to use only chocolate made without milk or milk fat. The squares of "bakers chocolate" contain cocoa butter, and therefore stearic acid. Several companies, like Ghirardelli and Lindt, make a dark chocolate candy bar that contains cocoa butter without milk or milk fat. Dark chocolate chips from Ghirardelli and Chatfield's, contain cocoa butter, and both firms offer a dairy free version (Barken, 1999). After sampling many different sources, I prefer my dark chocolate in the form of candy bars from Lindt and Ghirardelli. At a serving of one ounce a day, this medicine is not hard to take.

       Before you bite into that big, juicy burger, chew on this for a minute: A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates a possible link between eating red meat and some forms of cancer (Halsey, April 1996, p 1).

      Men with the highest amount of fat in their diets from pork, beef or lamb have a 79 percent greater risk of advanced prostate cancer than men with the lowest amounts (The Role of Red Meat in Prostate Cancer, 1998).

      The sources of animal fat with the highest correlation of prostate cancer deaths were bacon, butter, mayonnaise, creamy salad dressings, beef, pork, and lamb. The Health Professionals Follow-up Study findings were confirmed in the Physician's Health Study as well. These studies have encouraged scientists to reexamine the role of fat in prostate cancer in a much more direct fashion. In radical prostatectomy specimens, tumor tissue consumes the fatty acid, arachidonic acid, ten times faster than surrounding normal prostate. Arachidonic acid is present in meat. Other studies have shown that arachidonic acid stimulates the growth of prostate cancer cells and enhances its ability to invade and spread (Myers, 1996, p 1).

      Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a fatty acid, causes prostate cancer cells to thrive and reproduce at a greater rate. What does this mean for patients concerned about their daily diet? All polyunsaturated oils are high in ALA or arachidonate precursors. To reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer, avoid flaxseed, canola, soybean, safflower, corn, cottonseed and peanut oil, as well as margarine and mayonnaise. The monounsaturated coconut, palm and olive oils are low in "bad" ALA and arachidonate precursors, but only olive oil is not considered bad for the heart (Barken, 1999).

      Yes. This has become a great deal of information to digest in one essay. But, when my life depends on minimizing the risk of prostate cancer’s ability to thrive and spread through nutrition, an issue like this gets my full attention.

      Disclaimers were prevalent in virtually every source cited. The main concern centers on the fact that no definitive results have been established. As a result, caution is the advice given by the sources cited when implementing any of the nutritional guidelines.

      From my personal experience over the past 18 months, my battle with the beast at this juncture is in my favor. I believe this can be attributed to my meticulous adherence to the nutritional guidelines I have researched.