There is a lot to read about the benefits of certain foods in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer. Prominent among these “super foods” are tomatoes and broccoli. Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene and broccoli is stacked with sulforaphane.
Many studies indicate that a diet high in lycopene can reduce the risk of prostate cancer, while others report the benefits of lycopene in slowing the development of prostate cancer cells in newly diagnosed men. Just last month, Oregon State University issued the results of a study focused on African American men that indicates the sulforaphane found in broccoli can destroy prostate cancer tumors while preserving healthy cells. There have even been studies conducted on the benefits of eating tomatoes and broccoli together.
I am very happy to see on-going research in all areas of healthy food consumption. We don’t know everything there is to know about how specific fruits and vegetables positively impact prostate cancer cells and other cancer development. But, we do know that with a wellness lifestyle of both healthy eating and exercise, the body is better equipped to fight infection and disease. These are the easiest first steps for men to take. This is particularly true since obesity can pose a significant increase in men and their risk of developing prostate cancer, and can make prostate cancer surgery more complex.
I am also encouraged to see prostate cancer research focused on African American men, as statistics show them to be at increased risk of developing the disease. Understanding new research and arming ourselves with a well-nourished, healthy immune system are among the best things we as men can do to prevent prostate cancer.
But please do not forget that prostate cancer prevention must include vigilance. I urge men over age 50 to get PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) screenings annually. And high-risk men – African American men and those with genetic components increasing their risk of prostate cancer– must do so annually over age 40. These screenings ensure early detection of prostate cancer.
I believe that the combination of early detection and removal of the prostate through robotic prostatectomy once the cancer is detected is the key to eradicating prostate cancer. But let’s start before we even get to a diagnosis. Your focus on a healthy lifestyle now can lead to overall wellness long into your future and may even help you avoid prostate cancer.