What is the role of diet in prostate cancer?

Expert Opinion published on June 28, 2013 in Basic facts
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Tomasz Beer, MD
Professor of Medicine Oregon Health & Science University
Knight Cancer Institute
Portland, Oregon
What is the role of diet in prostate cancer?

Hello, my name is Dr. Tom Beer and I am professor of medicine at the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute. I am often asked about the role of diet in prostate cancer. Many patients might say, "I read that if I change my diet, I might be able to slow the growth of my prostate cancer, is that true?" That is a wonderful question and I think first of all we do not know enough about this issue. Increasingly, we are learning that diet is important for cancer, but there is more information at this point about cancer prevention than actually altering the course of the disease once it is already established. Many studies are suggesting that in the setting of prostate cancer diets that are rich in fruits and vegetables, diets that mirror Mediterranean diets, diets that include broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables may be associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer, and some studies are beginning to suggest that these diets may also slow the progression of prostate cancer. I would not view the data as definitive today, but the results so far are encouraging, and it is important to recognize that these kinds of diets are healthy in general. Diets low in animal fats and rich in vegetables and fruit have been associated with improvements in cardiovascular health, reductions in weight, and a general improvement in health. So I think it is a pretty good bet that if you have prostate cancer, eating a healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, reduced in animal fats, and at a reasonable level of overall caloric intake is a good idea. We cannot promise you that it will slow the growth of prostate cancer, but it cannot hurt and it may help. Thank you very much for your attention.

Last modified: June 28, 2013
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