Living with Prostate CancerAug 30, 2013
If you’re living with prostate cancer, you may be able to live longer and healthier by making some changes to your eating and exercise routine.
Increasingly, studies show that healthy eating and maintaining an active lifestyle after a prostate cancer diagnosis can lower the chances of the cancer coming back, and can improve the chances of staying disease-free. Healthy habits, such as not smoking, can also improve survival. Benefits may also include a lowered risk of heart disease.
About 2.8 million men in the United States were estimated to be living with prostate cancer in 2012. Except for skin cancer, it is the most common cancer among American men. It can be a serious disease, but most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. More than 90% of men have their prostate cancer found early, when it’s easiest to treat. At 10 years after diagnosis, their survival rate is very close to that of other men the same age. In fact, more prostate cancer survivors die from heart disease than from their cancer.
Lifestyle changes can lower risk of recurrence
The American Cancer Society recently updated its recommendations for cancer survivors with some specific guidance for men with prostate cancer:
1. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid weight gain during prostate cancer treatment, whether you are at a healthy weight or overweight.
- Weight loss after recovery from treatment may benefit survivors who are overweight or obese.
- Research has linked obesity to a greater risk of death from prostate cancer.
2. Be physically active.
- Studies show that exercise is safe during prostate cancer treatment and can improve many aspects of health, including muscle strength, balance, fatigue, cardiovascular fitness, and depression.
- Physical activity after a prostate cancer diagnosis is linked to living longer and a reduced risk of the cancer returning.
- In a study, men with localized prostate cancer who engaged in at least 3 hours of vigorous activity per week were nearly 60% less likely to die from the disease.
- Talk to your doctor first to make sure you’re healthy enough to begin an exercise routine, especially if you haven’t exercised in a while. Then, start slowly and work your way up.
3. Eat a healthy diet, with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- The most health benefits are associated with a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, and fish; low in refined grains, beef, pork, lamb, and processed meat (such as hot dogs, sausage, and bacon); and low in high-fat dairy products.
- A diet high in saturated fat, including red meat (beef, pork, and lamb) and high-fat dairy products, has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer.
4. Check with your doctor before taking any supplements.
- Studies show that taking vitamins, herbs, and other nutritional supplements often does not help cancer patients live longer and may even shorten life.
- A follow-up study from a clinical trial that included 35,000 men shows that those who took vitamin E supplements were more likely to develop prostate cancer. The study didn’t look at men who had prostate cancer already, but the findings aren’t encouraging.