Do you know what causes cancer? Do you believe that diet can affect your chances of either causing or preventing prostate cancer? Would you change what you eat if you thought it could make a positive difference?
I ran across an interesting small study that grew out of a larger British program called the ProDiet (Prostate + Diet) study. The program itself was a feasibility study on implementing nutritional change to prevent prostate cancer. The ProDiet study enrolled men who were at increased risk of prostate cancer but who had low-to-normal PSA values (from community-based screenings); participants were randomly assigned to take two supplements connected with PCa prevention: lycopene (either lycopene or placebo capsules, or a lycopene-rich diet) and green tea (green tea or placebo capsules, or green tea drink) for 6 months.
The smaller study I read was about a subgroup of 21 study participants who were interviewed separately to learn about their attitudes toward changing nutrition in hopes of preventing PCa, and what they knew about preventive eating. The purpose of the interviews was to capture their beliefs and feelings about changing how they eat.
Most of the men interviewed had general knowledge of food, environment, aging and genetics as factors that can contribute to developing cancer. However, they knew little about prostate function, and what might cause prostate cancer as it related to their own increased risk factors. Conflicting media information about healthy eating was confusing to them, but they trusted their own medical caregivers to give good dietary advice. They were positive about the potential for lycopene and green tea to reduce their PCa risk, and liked the fact that they are simple, natural substances. They expressed a desire to get trustworthy information on how they could tailor their diets to help prevent PCa.
No one knows for sure why one person gets cancer while another doesn’t. There’s some new thinking that random mutation may, after all, account for the onset of many cancers in spite of people’s best efforts at prevention. But it can’t hurt to try and beat the odds. If you believe you are at greater risk for prostate cancer (hereditary factors, known exposures to carcinogens and toxins, poor diet) have you explored simple, natural preventive supplements that you can easily incorporate into your routine? While other lifestyle changes are more challenging to integrate (e.g. exercise, stress management, meditation) taking a lycopene capsule or substituting green tea during your morning coffee break are not very demanding. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure.