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Prostate: Nutrition


Unfortunately, it is not yet known for sure how prostate cancer can be prevented, but one can take measures to decrease the risks or slow its progression. The most 

important steps one can take to maintain good health is to be well, be physically active and get regular checks up from the doctor.

Studies from different geographic regions have helped to identify dietary differences between different regions of the world. This information has led to recommendations regarding dietary changes to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. 

Selenium is a strong antioxidant. Studies reveal that the prevalence of prostate cancer is higher in those areas where the soil is lower in selenium content than where the content of selenium is higher. This is because selenium from the soil gets into our fruits, vegetables, other crops and even water. Another study reported significantly lower cases of prostate cancer and a 50% reduction in mortality for men who took daily selenium supplements. Others have found that blood selenium levels in men are low when they are diagnosed with and subsequently development advanced prostate cancer. A third study revealed that there are high toenail selenium levels in men with a low risk of developing advanced prostate cancer. 

Data indicate that Asian men are much less likely to get prostate cancer than North American men. But if these Asian men immigrate to the US, they lose adopt the same higher prostate cancer risk within one generation. Studies reveal that the Asian diet is rich in soy, which is a major source of genistein and other isoflavonoids. The beneficial effects of the isoflavonoids are thought to be related to its estrogen-like effects. 

Data from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study indicates that increased consumption of tomatoes (which are rich in lycopene) causes a significant reduction in the risk of developing prostate cancer. Other data indicate that even eating tomato sauces may also decrease the risk of prostate cancer. However, the latest National Institutes of Health (NIH) study refutes this claim.

Vitamin E is known to act as an antioxidant and has the ability to stop the division of rapidly dividing cells, such as cancer cells. In one study, it was observed that men who took vitamin E had a significantly lower risk of prostate cancer compared to those who did not. Other studies are currently underway to determine how vitamin E works to prevent cancer and which cancers may respond to vitamin E therapy.

Other nutrients that may diminish the risk of prostate cancer include folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin A derivatives and unsaturated fatty acids. Numerous reports exist about the benefits of these nutrients and the NIH will be undertaking controlled trials in the near future.

Current trials are evaluating use of stem cells, gene therapy and immune therapy in the treatment of prostate cancer which has already spread. These newer treatments are currently only available at major cancer centers.

 

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