Prostate cancer (PCa) and breast cancer (BCa) are like brother-sister cancers. There are many parallels between them. For instance, both have hormonally driven characteristics, there are about the same number of new cases annually, and similar death rates. On the other hand, lifestyle changes that help BCa patients avoid recurrence have also been shown to reduce the risk of PCa recurrence after treatment.
I have a special interest in preventing recurrence because I offer focal laser ablation (FLA) of prostate cancer tumors. This means that I spare healthy prostate tissue, and let’s face it – there’s always a chance that microscopic PCa cells exist somewhere else in the gland. In most cases, those cells are insignificant and are likely to remain idle without the primary tumor. However, the body’s environment can make a difference in whether those cells flourish or not. And food can make a HUGE difference in the body’s environment.
I recommend taking 10 minutes to read through an online slide presentation (sorry, no audio) put together by Vicky Newman, the Director of Nutrition Services in UC San Diego’s Cancer Prevention Program. It’s called “Fighting Cancer with Your Fork” and you can find it online at http://health.ucsd.edu/patients/events/Documents/WomensWellness/Newman-FightingCancer-Mar2014.pdf. Here are just a few of the main points:
- Some cuisines such as Mediterranean, Indian and Asian have ingredients that are anti-inflammatory (chronic inflammation of tissues is correlated with the development of cancer). There are also protective compounds in healthy plant foods and in monounsaturated fatty acids found in olives, avocados and nuts.
- Fruits and vegetables with bold colors and flavors boost the body’s defenses against cancer, and help create conditions that are not hospitable for malignant cells. Think in terms of intense rainbow colors: red (watermelon, red berries, cooked tomatoes), green (dark leafy greens), orange (carrots, papaya, orange melons, oranges), purple (purple-red cabbage, purple grapes, blackberries) etc. – and for bold flavor, onions and garlic.
- Cruciferous vegetables, which are best if eaten raw or lightly cooked: broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, etc.
- Aromatic herbs and spices like turmeric, curcumin and black pepper (more ways to get bold flavor).
- Fiber helps the body push out waste, which pollutes the body if it accumulates.
- And of course, all the don’ts: refined grains and sugars, low fiber, saturated fats.
There is a wealth of information in Ms. Newman’s slides that it’s impossible to do it justice. I invite you to relax with your table or laptop and take advantage of what she has assembled in one simple place. Even if you have never had cancer, her total program is sure to boost your cardiovascular health, physical energy, and mental clarity. Take bold steps to eat your way to a healthy body.