After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in men. The prostate is a gland of the sexual reproductive system, located near the rectum. It is about the size and shape of a chestnut and often enlarges as a man ages. Cancer of the prostate is remarkably common, but due to increased awareness, the disease is usually diagnosed in the early stages and is easily controlled. Prostate cancer spreads (metastasizes) slowly, and those with the disease are often presented with a choice -- either treat the cancer aggressively with surgery or chemotherapy, or scrutinize the cancer's development and take a 'wait and see' approach.
Now, a team from the University of California has produced a study suggesting lifestyle change as a legitimate treatment -- or at least a control factor -- for the progression of the disease. The team performed a comprehensive study on 93 men suffering from early-stage prostate cancer who decided against conventional treatment such as surgery or chemotherapy. The men were randomly divided into two groups, and half were placed on a strict vegan diet comprised of fruits, whole grains, legumes and vegetables, supplemented by soy, vitamins and minerals and moderate exercise. The contrasting group made no changes to their way of life.
In the first group, none of the men underwent conventional treatments during the course of the study. Six men from the second group were forced to undergo treatment. PSA levels (the protein marker that is an indicating factor for prostate cancer) decreased in the first group, while it increased in the second group. With this data in mind, the report, to be published in the September issue of Journal of Urology, indicates that there is a direct correlation between the progression of prostate cancer and lifestyle. The patients in the first group also stated that they had a marked increase in their quality of life.
The researchers have pointed out that this prostate cancer study mirrors many of the studies performed on patients with heart disease. It does suggest that lifestyle impacts health in a very significant manner, and also alludes to the fact that other diseases may be treated by a change in way of life rather than medication and surgery. This notion could spell a big relief for our overburdened health care system, and should mean an even greater emphasis on healthy living. And if healthy lifestyle is adopted early enough, it may act as prevention, rather than cure.