a man, you have one chance in five to develop prostate cancer
in your lifetime. Prostate cancer is the second most common
form of cancer in men (behind skin cancer), according to the
American Cancer Society. Men most at risk are over the age of
50, African-American or those with a family history (father,
brother or son) of prostate cancer.
test called a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) is commonly used
to identify problems with the prostate — a walnut-sized
gland that is part of the male reproductive system. High
levels of PSA mean the prostate may be inflamed, infected or
enlarged. It may or may not indicate prostate cancer until
further tests — such as a biopsy — are performed.
nutrition affects a man’s risk for prostate cancer is still
unclear, say experts. Yet several nutrition
interventions show promise in helping to prevent and treat
this form of cancer. Some evidence suggests, for example, that
a vegetarian diet may exert some protection against prostate
that benefit might be from lycopene — a reddish pigment that
gives color to fruit and vegetables like tomatoes, apricots,
guavas, and watermelons. Lycopene has been shown to help lower
PSA levels and lower the risk for developing prostate
lycopene found naturally in food, some studies have shown a
benefit from the use of lycopene supplements; others have not.
Remember though, when we eat foods high in lycopene — those
with red colored flesh — we also get a host of other
nutrients that work together to fight against cancer.
way, lycopene from food cooked with a little fat is better
absorbed into the body than raw foods eaten without fat.
Tomatoes cooked in olive oil, for example, release more
lycopene into the body than raw tomatoes.
D is another newsworthy nutrient in the fight against prostate
cancer. This hormone-like vitamin may have a protective effect
on the cells of the prostate gland, according to the National
Cancer Institute (NCI). Although we still don’t know if
taking vitamin D supplements or getting more natural vitamin D
from the sun will prevent prostate cancer, it has been
observed that men diagnosed with prostate cancer often have
low blood levels of vitamin D.
studies have found that men with prostate cancer who were
treated with vitamin D experience lower PSA levels in their
blood. Other studies have not shown the same benefit. Still,
one review article concluded that "vitamin D-based
therapies for prostate cancer may soon be medical
Vitamin D can be toxic when taken in doses higher than 10,000
IU (International Units) per day over a period of many years,
says the NCI. Always check with your medical provider before
starting any type of nutrition therapy.