A study, published in Journal of Urology, found that men with early stage prostate cancer who make intensive changes in diet and lifestyle may stop or perhaps even reverse the progression of their illness.
Researchers studied 93 men with biopsy-proven prostate cancer who had elected not to undergo conventional treatment for reasons unrelated to this study.
The participants were randomly divided into either a group who were asked to make comprehensive changes in diet and lifestyle or a comparison group who were not asked to do so.
After one year, the researchers found that PSA levels, a marker for prostate cancer, decreased in men in the group who made comprehensive lifestyle changes but increased in the comparison group.
There was a direct correlation between the degree of lifestyle change and the changes in PSA.
Also, they found that serum from the participants inhibited prostate tumor growth in vitro by 70 percent in the lifestyle-change group but only 9 percent in the comparison group. Again, there was a direct correlation between the degree of lifestyle change and the inhibition of prostate tumor growth.
Participants in the lifestyle-change group were placed on a vegan diet consisting primarily of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes supplemented with soy, vitamins and minerals. They participated in moderate aerobic exercise, yoga/meditation, and a weekly support group session.
A registered dietitian was available for consultation, and a nurse case manager contacted the participants once a week for the first three months and weekly thereafter.
None of the lifestyle-change participants had conventional prostate cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy during the study, but six members of the comparison group underwent conventional treatments because their disease progressed. Patients in the lifestyle-change group also reported marked improvements in quality of life.
This study provides important new information for men with prostate cancer and all men who hope to prevent it. This is the first in a series of trials attempting to better identify the exact role of diet and lifestyle in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer.
Source: University of California San Francisco, 2005