An online study appeared in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on July 25, 2007.

[1] which has reported that a high consumption of broccoli and cauliflower may reduce the incidence of stage III-IV prostate cancer.

As is usual with prostate cancer every week brings conflicting information and findings. Two months ago, we were told that the Holy Grail, lycopene, has no effect on prostate cancer. Our understanding of diet and what effect it has on prostate cancer remains a mystery with research findings constantly in conflict.

Studies have suggested that a high intake of allium vegetables (garlic, onions, scallions, leeks, and chives) is associated with a lower incidence of prostate cancer while other studies identified a high intake of fish as being protective. In realty, we do not know what is true and what is just fiction.

The current study looked at the diet of 1,338 men with prostate cancer in the screening arm of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. These authors reported that there was no correlation between overall vegetable and fruit consumption and the risk of prostate cancer. However, they did find that men who consumed the most broccoli and cauliflower had 40% decreased risk of developing stage III-IV prostate cancer. They also reported that there was some evidence that spinach intake had a similar effect.

So, once again, we are faced with a dilemma. Do we make an effort to increase our consumption of cruciferous vegetables on the hope that it will protect us from advanced disease? If the study is correct, for those of us who have advanced disease; will the consumption of a high quantity of cruciferous vegetables slow down our disease progression?

Your guess is as good as my mine. I suppose, that we just need to get used to not knowing about many things and just allowing our spirit dictate our actions.

[1] Kirsh VA, Peters U, Mayne ST, et al. Prospective study of fruit and vegetable intake and risk of prostate cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2007; early on-line publication on July 24, 2007.

Joel T Nowak MA, MSW