We constantly discuss diet and its implications on prostate cancer on both our on-line and face-to-face support groups. As an individual who does enjoy a steak I have made great strides in significantly restraining myself and greatly limit my consumption of red meat. However, I often wonder if all the talk about being a vegetarian was based on any actual evidence.
The typical western diet has been associated with prostate cancer incidence as well as risk of disease progression after treatment. A plant-based diets have been associated with decreased risks, but where is the evidence?
There was a recent pilot clinical trial extending over a brief period of six (6) months, which evaluated dietary change and stress reduction intervention for asymptomatic, hormonally untreated prostate cancer survivors who are experiencing a rising PSA level. Rising PSA scores, post surgery or radiation therapy are the first sign of recurrence of prostate cancer.
The trial was designed to investigate the level of intake of plant-based foods (vegetarian) and the relationship between intake and the change in the rate of PSA rise. Each survivor served as his own control in this pre-post trial design.
Survivors and their spouses were encouraged to adopt and maintain an only plant-based diet. The pre-study baseline rate of PSA rise (from the time of post-treatment recurrence to the start of the study) was established by review of the survivor’s medical records. Dietary assessments were performed and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels ascertained at baseline, prior to the start of intervention, and at 3 and 6 months. Changes in numbers of servings of plant-based food groups were calculated and compared with rates of PSA rise over the corresponding