I think one of the scariest things that my male patients face is the prospect of prostate disease, especially as they pass the age of 50. Indeed, the statistics on prostate health are not great, with 1 out of 6 men predicted to develop prostate disease in their lifetime, and 1 in 35 dying from prostate cancer. If you are an African American or Hispanic male, or 65 or older, you’re at greatest risk. You can’t change your genetics, but, as I tell my male patients, there are several things you can do to lessen your risk for developing prostate disease simply by becoming proactive in maintaining good prostate health.
Keeping Your Prostate Healthy
My patients know me as a doctor who puts a lot of emphasis in prevention of disease. Although I look at statistics in a general sense, I know that every one of my male patients are individuals and blanket statistics don’t take into account what an individual male may be doing to promote his prostate health, thereby reducing his actual risk. That’s where I try to empower my male patients to become proactive in creating good health for themselves, and their prostates, through diet and lifestyle as their first line of defense. Let’s look at how.
Diet: A diet with optimal nutrition includes:
➢ Protein: Fish, chicken, turkey, beef, pork.
➢ Complex carbohydrates: High fiber, low-0 sugar grains like brown rice, barley, oatmeal, and quinoa. Legumes (beans and peas). Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts), a small amount of fruit.
➢ Low sugar. Limit sweets to a treat maybe once a week.
➢ Low to no dairy. Studies show that men who have high dairy intakes have higher levels of prostate disease.
➢ Prostate health booster foods: Lycopene (from cooked tomato products), pomegranate, and even soymilk. Men who tend to develop prostate disease have very high testosterone levels and soy milk opposes some of this testosterone by adding phytoestrogens (natural occurring estrogens). Turmeric (pair it with cauliflower for additional boost), flaxseeds, Omega-3 oils, Brazil nuts, green tea, garlic, scallions.
Exercise: Aerobic exercise is very beneficial to prostate health as it helps drain the prostate of fluids that can build up, become infected and cause the prostate to swell and create inflammation. Inflammation is a key factor in developing diseases like prostatitis and prostate cancer. Exercise also helps fight obesity which is associated with greater risk of developing prostate cancer.
Lifestyle: Heavy smoking and excessive alcohol use greatly raises your risk of developing prostate cancer. Limit alcohol to no more than 2 drinks a day, preferably red wine for its antioxidants.
Supplements: Antioxidants selenium, Vitamin E, and Vitamin D, have been proven to be beneficial in preventing prostate cancer by strengthening the immune system.
What’s New In Treating Prostate Disease?
I’m always happy to report to my male patients concerned about their prostate health that there is always new research coming out on how to treat prostate disease. Here’s a few of the newest ones:
1. Provenge: Recently, the FDA approved a type of immunotherapy that works to support your own immune system to fight prostate cancer. Research has proven it to reduce the overall risk of death by 22.5% in patients who have advanced, resistant to other treatment, prostate cancers.
2. New Prostate Cancer Marker: Purdue University Cancer Center for Cancer Research has identified a potentially new marker for prostate cancer by analyzing the lipids, or fats, in prostate tissue looking for a compound called cholesterol sulfate which is not found in healthy prostate tissue and almost always in diseased prostates. Very specific to prostate cancer with very low false positives, this marker can be used to clarify current PSA tests high false positives.
3. Polyphenols: Research on the particular antioxidants (polyphenols) found in red wine and green tea has shown them to stop prostate cancer growth. Seems the combined effect of the two disrupt an important cancer cell-growth communication pathway. Development of cancer fighting drugs using polyphenol compounds may be able to slow down or stop the growth of cancer cells. Research has shown that men who drink 4-7 glasses of red wine a week are 52% less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. But you don’t have to drink red wine or green tea to get the benefits, extracts of the two can be taken in pill form.
4. New Prostate Protein: The discovery of a new prostate specific protein, KLF6, has researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center hopeful that it will allow them to predict how fast particular prostate cancers will spread. This can buy valuable time in figuring out how to best treat each individual case of prostate cancer.
5. Alternative Cancer Methods: A combination of antioxidants, homeopathic, herbal, chelation treatments cleanse the liver and the body of toxic heavy metals which can reduce the immune system’s function. In addition, IPT – insulin potentiation therapy allows for low dose chemotherapy to be used which helps the immune system stay strong during treatment.
Worrying about getting prostate cancer is understandable as prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in men in the United States today. As I tell my patients though, the good news is that early detection and treatment can dramatically increase the rate of survival to 99%! That is why it is absolutely crucial to do everything possible to keep yourself, and your prostate, healthy by adopting some of the above recommendations. In addition, regular prostate screening will also help keep you ahead of the risk curve and put you in the survivor group.
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