A new study shows that men with early stage prostate cancer who make drastic changes to their diet and lifestyle may stop or perhaps even reverse the progression of their illness say researchers. The study is one of the first randomized, controlled trials to demonstrate that lifestyle changes may affect the progression of a cancer.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men after lung cancer. For the study researchers recruited 93 men with biopsy-proven prostate cancer who had decided not to follow conventional treatment for the disease.
The study participants were randomly divided into two groups. The first was placed on a vegan diet consisting primarily of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and legumes and were given supplements of soy, vitamins and minerals and participated in moderate aerobic exercise, yoga/meditation, and a weekly support group session. None of the men in the group had conventional prostate cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy during the study.
The second group made no changes to diet and lifestyle and six members of this group underwent conventional treatments because their disease progressed. After one year, PSA levels (a protein marker for prostate cancer) decreased in the group who had changed their lifestyle. In contrast, PSA levels increased in the comparison group and a direct correlation between the degree of lifestyle change and the changes in PSA were observed. Patients in the lifestyle-change group also reported marked improvements in quality of life.
Thus researchers say that the study indeed provides important new information for men with prostate cancer and all men who hope to prevent it. They also say that they are continuing to follow the trial patients to determine the effects of their changes in diet and lifestyle on morbidity and mortality.