Will Eating the Right Food Prevent Prostate Cancer or Its Recurrence?
Posted Jun 30 2009 10:25pm
This past week I was hospitalized due to a stomach obstruction. The next morning one of my doctors palpated my stomach. Then he commented that the IV fluids I was on, along with other meds I had taken, had lowered my temperature and reduced my discomfort.
After concluding that I was well on my way to recovery, the doctor noticed a copy of my book, Conquer Prostate Cancer, on the night stand next to my hospital bed. Switching gears, this friendly man in the white coat suddenly took on the role of MY patient! He told me he was increasingly worried about his prostate, and asked me if I thought that adapting a suitable diet could prevent prostate cancer.
Smiling I said, "Well, I'm not a doctor, I'm just an informed survivor with a doctorate in gerontology, who has researched this and related issues. I’m afraid there are many contradictory studies and comments regarding what foods might prevent this disease."
"For instance," I continued, "not smoking and not drinking alcohol excessively can reduce the chances of getting cancer fivefold, tenfold or more. The same applies when you eat few or no fatty foods or reduce your intake of red meat to a minimum."
After a brief pause in this bedside consultation (MY bedside!), I added, "You can also ingest plenty of antioxidants with foods like tomatoes or tomato paste to offset free radicals that promote cancer. That’s assuming you concur with many, but not all research scientists that such lycopene-rich foods are healthy for you."
I would advise readers to take such diet tips with a proverbial “grain of salt”. After all, these steps can lower the risk of getting cancer but will not prevent the onset of cancer altogether. Eating “right” is smart, but it offers no guarantees that you will be alright.
The one sweeping conclusion we can draw from all this is to keep taking steps to reduce personal and collective risks that cause cancer or its recurrence. At the same time, - given various genetic and environmental variables, don't assume we can prevent cancer itself. The best we can do is to eat a "heart-healthy" diet and hope that everything else will fall into place.
Between advancing scientific research and developing healthier personal habits we will eventually arrive at a better place. Let's hope that day comes soon, even if we have to eliminate various cancers one at a time.
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