Can Prostate Cancer Be Prevented?

This is a frequently asked question by patients and physicians alike.
We know there are genetic risks for developing prostate cancer. For example, African American men are more likely to get prostate cancer and it is more often a more aggressive type.
There was a review by Dr. Eric Klein, of the Cleveland Clinic, that was one of the most read medscape articles last year. This review summarized the literature on medicines, vitamins, and other products that may lower the risk of prostate cancer.

The knowledge of the effects of these medicines, vitamins, and minerals is crucial to prevent and possibly even treat prostate cancer.
One thing that was not covered in this review is low fat diets. Low fat diets have been to decrease the risk of prostate cancer in some studies .
Studies are pending that should tell us the advantages of selenium and vitamin E in prostate cancer reduction. Until these studies are finished, my advice to patients is as follows:
Things that wont harm you, and may help you are beneficial.
A low fat diet is in this category.
Selenium is also in this category.
Vitamin E is probably in this category, but a recent study showed that Vitamin E in high doses can lead to more heart disease.
Tomatoes (lycopenes), green tea, and pomegranate juice are in this category as well.
Medicines such as finasteride or avodart may reduce the risk of prostate cancer, but also have side effects, and are costly and are not recommended for prevention at this time.
For my poll of the week I ask,
Assuming we knew a low fat diet reduced your risk of prostate cancer from 12% to 4%, would you alter your life style accordingly?
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3 thoughts on “Can Prostate Cancer Be Prevented?

  1. Mike Lamb

    I started drinking green tea (iced) to help ward off cancer. And I try to exercise. Giving up my cheeseburgers is a bit much, tho. So, the green tea, exercise, apples, and garlic will have to do the job.

  2. Bruce

    It is always best to use preventive natural means to reduce the threat of prostrate problems. Low fat diet, aerobic exercise, lots of green tea, tomato products, natural juices high in vitamin C and other vitamins are a good defense. But many of these measures must be part of an overall life style that will prevail for life. Lets ask the question why is the rate of prostrate problems so low in the Asian countries – look at their life style and diet !!

  3. Jay Yew, M.D.

    There is also evidence that certain regimens of high-dose Vitamin D (2000IU) have activity against prostate cancer. Also, the omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils) have also been shown to be beneficial.
    It can gets to be a big list (selenium, lycopene, vitamin D, omega-3 fish oils, low fat, soy, modest calcium/vitE, etc..) but keep in mind that these are the things that for the most part have virtually NO side-effects! Also, the omega-3 fish oils have well-documented heart-health benefits and anti-inflammatory properties.
    I suggest this “mega-vitamin-regimen” for many patients, especially patients with:
    family history, atypia/PIN on surveillance, elderly or frail with low-risk prostate cancer declining other therapies, virtually any high-risk patient (black, high PSA), etc…

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