Diet and stress reduction may slow prostate tumor growth

December 12, 2001 in Cancer Prevention, Healthy Eating, Men's Health

Diet and stress reduction may slow prostate tumor growth

A small study from the University of California, San Diego suggests that a low-fat, high-fiber diet coupled with stress reduction can slow the growth of prostate tumors. Researchers found that a plant-based diet combined with a stress reduction program lowered the rate at which prostate specific antigen (PSA) increased in 8 of 10 men over 4 months. Levels of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate, are used to screen for cancer.

Several previous studies have linked a high intake of saturated fat from meat and dairy and a low intake of fiber from fruits and vegetables, with an increased risk of prostate cancer and more malignant tumors. There is also preliminary evidence that after it develops, prostate cancer may be "sensitive" to diet. A possible explanation is that low-fat, high-fiber diets can reduce levels of male hormones circulating in the blood.

The 10 study volunteers, who had all undergone surgical removal of the prostate, were in the early stages of recurrent prostate cancer. They received individual nutrition counselling and followed a diet rich in whole grains, legumes, fresh vegetables, soy-based food and fruit. Caffeine, animal-based foods and processed and refined foods were strictly limited. Patients also participated in 12 weekly group stress-reduction sessions lasting 3 to 4 hours.

After 4 months, the rate of tumor progression was found to have slowed in 8 of the 10. In three men, PSA levels had actually decreased. All men lost weight.

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