If you are recently diagnosed, the good news is that promising new drugs and therapies, as well as new thinking about when to treat and when it is not even necessary to treat, have made a diagnosis of prostate cancer far less threatening than in the past. Having said that, remember the old rule of the desert: "Trust in God, but tie your camel to a tree." Because the same applies with a cancer diagnosis. It's not enough to depend entirely on your medical team. Now is the time to consider what you can do to support your recovery and reduce the risk of recurrence.
First, you need to be involved in each treatment decision, making certain that you are fully informed, and that you understand the risks and side effects involved. It is all too easy to play a passive role and just go along with whatever the urologist or oncologist recommends. But you need to take charge. Research your diagnosis on the Internet. Explore all your treatment options and decide whether you do, in fact, need treatment, or if active surveillance is your best option. Get a second opinion.
Next--and I'm sure you don't want to hear this--you need to examine your lifestyle. Yes, I know you would prefer just to let your treatment get rid of the cancer. But everyone I have talked with who has done really well in the cancer wars has made good nutrition, moderate exercise, stress management, and positive engagement in their own health and healing--key parts of their recovery program.
So where to start? Anyone overweight? A new study suggests that being overweight or obese lowers the chances of successful treatment. It is also known to increase the risk for prostate cancer, particularly for more aggressive, high-risk disease. So experts agree that losing weight is an important first step.
A study led by UC San Francisco involving 4,600 men diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer found that by substituting healthy vegetable fats--olive and canola oils, nuts, seeds and avocados--for animal fats and carbohydrates, the men lowered their risk of disease progression. Men who replaced 10 percent of their daily calories from carbohydrates with healthy vegetable fats had a 29 per cent lower risk of increasing aggressive prostate cancer.
There is no doubt that certain foods are helpful in reducing cancer growth and other foods are not. High on the "not" list is sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup, and processed meat--salami, bologna, sausage, hot dogs etc. Your shopping list for "helpful" foods should include all fish and skinless chicken breast, beans, vegetables and fruit, whole grains and breads, and non-fat dairy. It doesn't mean you can never have another slice of pizza in your life, it just means cutting out the steak and fries. Because there has never been a more important time in your life to eat well.
Here are a few other simple things you can do: