The co-authors of Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers, blog alternate posts weekly. We invite you to post your comments.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Importance of Diet in Beating Prostate Cancer


If you are one of the nearly three million men currently living with prostate cancer, you need to know that what you eat really can make a difference. Not only does a healthy diet improve your quality of life and enhance the functioning of your immune system, recent studies suggest that as well as reducing the risk of prostate cancer, good nutrition can help slow the progression of existing cancer.

More often than not, prostate cancer is slow-growing and non-aggressive and, therefore, has one of the highest survival rates of any type of cancer. But why not improve your odds? Some of you may know that I have been living with this disease for over two decades, and that I have not always been conscientious about my diet. However, when my PSA spiked again in 2015, I could no longer ignore the mounting evidence that giving up high-fat and processed foods and eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish had real benefits for fighting prostate cancer.

Speaking of fish, I read recently that a New Zealand study found that men who ate no fish had a two to three times higher frequency of prostate cancer than those whose diets included moderate to high amounts of fish. So sorry, guys, take those steaks off the Barbie and get out your fishing rods! Red meat contains more than 50% fat, and high-fat diets increase the level of insulin-like growth factor which in turn increases the risk of prostate cancer.

The National Cancer Institute has spent millions of dollars researching diet in China where the consumption of animal protein--meat, milk, cheese and eggs--is very low. The most significant finding in these extensive studies was this: the more animal protein you eat, the higher your risk of dying of cancer. In the entire Far East, the mortality rates from prostate cancer are eighteen times lower than in the U.S.

Another major offender is sugar. Cancer cells are especially greedy for sugar--a fact dramatically illustrated in a PET scan. The PET scan uses radioactive sugar injected into the blood stream to locate tumors, and the uptake of glucose into the cancer cells occurs so swiftly that they light up like fireworks within ten minutes of the injection. According to nutritionists you can slow cancer growth by lowering the amount of fuel available to the tumor cells.

So what to do? I'm not talking here about going on a strict macrobiotic or vegan diet, just cutting out foods that have been shown to accelerate the pace of cancer cell growth. You can start by throwing out the sugar cookies and Krispy Cremes. Next, substitute that juicy steak with wild salmon, and chow down on a plate of creatively seasoned steamed veggies.

This advice is especially relevant for men who meet the criteria for Active Surveillance and are able to postpone the undesirable side effects of radical treatment. And yes, it's a little boring. But it sure beats being dead.


Anonymous said...

Regarding glucose levels and fueling cancer, how low does your glucose level need to be to not fuel the cancer, yet to be able to fuel my brain? Or do I need to be in nutritional ketosis (since the brain can use keytones) and keep my glucose ultra low?

Prostate Oncology Specialists said...

The idea is to keep the insulin levels low. Blood sugars in the 80-90s should be sufficient - Mark Scholz, MD