Prostate Cancer and Whole Food Plant-Based Diet

I was putting some final touches on my first attempt at an abstract presentation for submission to an upcoming medical conference this fall and decided to do one more search to see if there were any research studies on men who implemented lifestyle changes (diet/exercise) after their diagnosis of prostate cancer (PC). I only found one, but the study was fascinating. Published in PlosOne, the study is called “Factors associated with the use of diet and the use of exercise for prostate cancer long-term survivors” 

The objective of this article was to assess the use of diet and exercise for PC by long-term survivors. A cohort in Australia of PC survivors greater than 70 years old who returned a 10-year follow-up questionnaire. 996 men completed the follow-up survey. Of those, only 11.8% of the men had attempted to use diet and 7.8% had attempted some form of exercise to help with their PC. So roughly only 10% of the men surveyed even tried to incorporate a diet or exercise change to augment their PC battle. This just baffles me. With the solid (but limited) research to date on the ability of diet to slow the growth of PC, why did so few men give it a go? Forget vegan, forget fasting, this is just trying to improve what they ate. 

The conclusion: “Few long-term prostate cancer survivors use diet or exercise to help with their prostate cancer. Survivors may benefit from counseling on the scientific evidence supporting healthy eating and regular exercise for improving quality-of-life and cancer-related outcomes.”

Here is my personal summary:

A whole food plant based (WFPB) diet with no oil coupled with daily exercise and periodic water-only fasting has been the primary driver in my health outcome. Not western medicine. 

It’s been exactly 13 weeks since I have started my 3rd round of hormone therapy, this time with Orgovyx. Anyone who has done a 5-minute search on hormone therapy for PC will tell you that one of its meanest side effects are consistent hot flashes throughout the day and night. It’s the #1 complaint for most men on this protocol (followed by decreased sex drive). My experience has been very different. Each time, including this one, I ate and continue to eat 100% plant-based diet. Although I did and still do experience the occasional hot flash, they are very mild and don’t really bother me. I also am able to continue to have sex with Mindy! I have a diminished but still active sex drive. Tiredness and weakness are also very common complaints of men on HT and I just have not experienced that. I have always believed that my diet was the critical factor for me avoiding these awful symptoms but I could never find scientific proof…. until NOW! Well, sort of. I was fortunate enough to attend the virtual International Conference On Nutrition And Medicine hosted by our friends at the Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine Dr. Neil Barnard gave an awesome lecture on the results of PCRM’s recent study on menopausal hot flashes and diet. Bottom line: Transitioning to a WFPB diet with soy decreased hot flashes and their intensity by 84%. That is statistically significant! And guess what? The same diet works for those troublesome side effects of hormone therapy for men with PC! It is working for me. You can read the PCRM press release here.

In summary: 

  1. Men do not generally DO NOT try to implement lifestyle changes after a PC diagnosis. 
  2. Research (only in women so far) has demonstrated the ability of just changing diet to decrease and in many cases (like mine) eliminate hot flashes. 

Come on guys battling PC: Give it a go. NOW!

I am day one into a 5-day water-only fast here in North Carolina. As stated above, my side effects are minimal to none after 3 months on Orgovyx hormone therapy. I feel great. Blood test in another month. Passport is in process! Stay tuned and stay healthy!

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