According to Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, ‘prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia and the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Australian men.’ Despite this, men diagnosed with prostate cancer will have a 95 percent chance of surviving for five years after diagnosis, and these numbers continue to improve along with the rate of death from prostate cancer as we learn and discover more about it.
Risk factors for prostate cancer include being overweight, a diet high in dairy foods (specifically calcium), as well as family history and ethnicity.
Diet, lifestyle and complementary therapy use is high in men for prevention as well as those who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer because there is now some promising research to show it may help to prevent or slow the disease.
There are some foods and nutrients that are highlighted as having a particularly positive impact on prostate cancer progression:
The Mediterranean eating pattern should form the foundation of the diet when it comes to prostate cancer, as it’s been shown to help to prevent and speed up recovery in men who have had radiotherapy for prostate cancer. The Mediterranean diet includes an abundance of colourful fruit and vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, pulses and seafood, especially fatty fish like salmon, with a little meat and dairy and minimal ultra-processed foods.
Catechins in green tea have been shown to supress prostate cancer cell growth and it’s believed to be dose responsive – as in the more you have, the more protective it can be. In Asian countries, prostate cancer mortality rates are at their lowest, where green tea intake is the highest. When these men change their diet to a more western diet, prostate cancer incidence goes up.
Lycopene is a potent antioxidant that gives fruit and vegetables their bright red pigment, such as tomatoes, capsicum and watermelon. It is best accessed by the body if it’s been processed, which breaks down the cell wall – such as with tomato juice or tomato concentrate, and is best absorbed by the body when it’s eaten with a fat – such as extra virgin olive oil. Lycopene may have a cancer protective effect of the prostate, as well as some other organs of the body.
Soy foods include soy beans, edamame beans, tofu, tempeh and soy milk. They contain isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens or plant estrogens, which can mimic what estrogen does in the body. Generally, studies have shown that eating a lot of non-fermented soy products was associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer.
Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential for immunity and reproduction. We don’t need much but typically it’s deficient in the Australian diet as our soil is deplete in it. The most common dietary source of selenium are Brazil nuts – often just 3-4 providing your daily requirement. The summary of selenium for prostate cancer is that it may have a protective role, however it’s important not to overdo it as this may have a detrimental impact on prostate cancer progression.
If you’re unsure or need personalised information, it’s always best seek advice from your health care professional.