Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Prostate Cancer is Preventable

Published:Tuesday | April 14, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE CURRENT medical strategy for dealing with the worldwide epidemic of prostate cancer is based on early diagnosis and treatment. But there are several lifestyle-related factors that contribute to prostate cancer. If you were to do nothing else but address these issues, you could dramatically reduce your risk of prostate cancer.

These documented correctable risk factors include low levels of vitamin D from inadequate exposure to sunlight and low dietary intake, a lack of sufficient fresh fruit and vegetables in the diet, heavy consumption of commercial red meat, poultry and dairy products, and environmental pollution that disrupts male hormonal balance.

My prostate protection plan

Optimise your vitamin D3: Compelling medical evidence indicates that a natural substance, vitamin D could help prevent up to 80 per cent of all types of cancer including prostate cancer. Studies clearly demonstrate that the lower the level of vitamin D in a man's blood, the higher his risk of developing prostate cancer. The experts predict that hundreds of thousands of cases of prostate cancers around the world could be prevented by

raising the vitamin D levels in entire


Sunshine is the best source of vitamin D. When the sun's ultraviolet light strikes your skin, it converts cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D. But the darker your skin colour, the more sunshine you need to make vitamin D. People with dark skin pigmentation may need six times as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people, to generate the same amount of vitamin D.

Because of this, research confirms that over 90 per cent of African Americans and many Jamaican and other people of colour are vitamin D deficient. The further you live from the equator, the more sunshine you need to generate vitamin D and the higher your risk of prostate cancer. Your prostate protection plan should include a daily sunbath as often as possible plus supplementing with at least 5000 IU of vitamin D3 daily.

Eat a prostate-healthy diet: Aim to eat nine or more servings of colourful fruit and vegetables daily. Have healthy protein, especially plant protein from soy, nuts, beans and seeds that are prostate-friendly. Choose oily fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna or sardines, which are all rich in omega 3 fatty acids.

Tomatoes and other red vegetables like sorrel contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, which helps prostate health. According to an American study, men who had 10 or more servings of tomato-based foods per week lowered their risk of developing prostate cancer by 45 per cent.

The main dietary antioxidants, the ACES, vitamins A, C, E and the trace mineral selenium are prostate-protective. Brazil nuts, broccoli, seafood, asparagus, brown rice and onions are rich in selenium while fruit and vegetables are great sources of the vitamins. They can also be taken in supplement form and work best when combined with each other and with the mineral zinc. Turmeric found in curry, green tea

and pomegranate also have potent prostate-healing properties. Despite rumours to the contrary the healthy fats found in avocados, ackee and coconut are good for the prostate.

Avoid toxins: Reduce your intake of saturated animal fats. These fats are found in meats and dairy and the very unhealthy trans fats found in margarines and many processed foods like some vegetable oils, chips, cookies and cakes. Avoid processed and cured meats such as sausages, bacon, processed hams and smoked foods as they often contain cancer-promoting substances like sodium nitrate. Commercial poultry, beef and dairy also contain hormones that are not good for the hormone-sensitive prostate.

Chemicals from plastics, industrial pollution, pesticides and heavy metals like mercury; lead, aluminum and cadmium also disturb hormones and encourage prostate cancer. Detox programmes like chelation therapy help to protect the prostate.

Drink healthy fluids: Green tea is rich in substances called polyphenols that protect against cancer while boosting the body's immune system. Japanese and Chinese men have very low prostate-cancer risk and their high consumption of green tea may explain why. I recommend using a green-tea concentrate with a high polyphenol content. Green tea combined with a soy-based protein shake offers good prostate protection and makes a great breakfast.

The consumption of alcohol and sweet drinks should be minimised. Swedish research indicated that men who drink lots of soft drinks or other sugar-laden drinks had a 40 per cent increased risk of prostate cancer. Even drinking just one 12 fluid ounces soft drink per day heightened their risk of getting more dangerous forms of prostate cancer.

Use prostate-healthy herbs: A number of herbs promote prostate health. These include saw palmetto, pygeum africanum, stinging nettle, pumpkin seed and guinea hen weed. These are available individually or in combinations as teas and capsules.

Exercise: Exercise helps to balance hormone levels, prevent obesity and boost the immune system, and it's never too late to start. Exercise still benefits men even if they are already under treatment for prostate cancer.

Research in Boston found that maintaining a healthy weight and diet helps cancer sufferers live longer. Overweight men with prostate cancer were twice more likely to die within five years compared to men with normal weight.

Be sexually active: Several studies have suggested that regular ejaculation achieved either from sex or masturbation protects against prostate cancer. It is suggested that ejaculation allows the prostate to clear itself of toxic substances and

literally cleans up your plumbing.

Sexual promiscuity, however, is not recommended, as sex with multiple partners increases the possibility of sexually transmitted infections that could heighten prostate cancer risk.

n You may email Dr Vendryes at or listen to An Ounce of Prevention on POWER106FM on Fridays at 8:15 p.m. Details of his latest book, 'An Ounce of Prevention - Particularly for Men', is available on his website