NUTRITION AND PROSTATE CANCER

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Q: Can nutrition be a contributing factor in cancer of the prostate?

A: Only recently has nutrition been viewed as an environmental contributor to cancer of the prostate. Recent scientific studies implicate intake of foods high in dietary fat as a major risk factor for cancer of the prostate and colon. In several major studies, (n1,n3) incidence of prostate cancer in the United States was found to be closely related to fat consumption in the form of meat and dairy products. Other researchers have found that in the United States incidence of prostate cancer is in direct proportion to the consumption of dietary fats.(n2,n4-n6)

In Japan, cancer of the prostate was almost unknown prior to 1945. However, now it is a significant disease, and the rates are still increasing because of progressive Westernization of the Japanese diet.(n7)

In studies of changes in prostate disease incidence in migrant workers, Haenszel and colleagues have noted that consumption of lettuce and other green vegetables and fruit appears to lower risk. A number of studies have shown that populations consuming a vegetarian, high-fiber diet have a much lower incidence of prostate cancer than populations consuming a westernized diet.(n8)
Q: What are the most common causes of infertility in women?

A: There can be many causes, but the most common are ovulatory failure or defect, tubal obstructions or adhesions, endometriosis, and uterine myomas. A physician often has to be like Sherlock Holmes to eliminate the improbable or impossible causes, leaving what is left as probable or possible causes. For example, a woman who suffers from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) usually ovulates every month, so a gynecologist would probably look elsewhere first for the cause. The journey of the ovum through the fallopian tube and finally into the uterus after fertilization is extremely hazardous. Many events must work in precise synchronization in order for successful pregnancy to occur.
Q: My husband, who is 63, just had bypass surgery. When would it be safe for us to resume sexual relations?

A: In most cases sexual congress can resume several weeks after his discharge from the hospital provided there are no complaints of chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations. However, each case may be different, and you should certainly discuss this important aspect with your doctor.

A greater percentage of bypass patients resume sexual relations after surgery than do patients recovering from a myocardial infarction (MI) and are usually less fearful of resuming sexual intercourse.

ILLUSTRATION:

References

(n1:) Lee, F., et al. Prostate Cancer: Comparison of Transrectal Ultrasound and Digital Rectal Examination for Screening Genitourinary Radiology (August 1988, pg. 389.)

(n2:) Haenzel, W., et al. Stomach Cancer Among Japanese in Hawaii. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 49, 969, 1972.

(n3.) Schumann, L. Epidemiology of Prostate Cancer in Blacks. Preventive Medicine, 9, 630, 1980.

(n4:) Hill, P. Environmental Factors and Breast and Prostate Cancer. Cancer Research, 41, 3817, 1981.

(n5:) Blair, A., and J.F. Fraumeni. Geographic Patterns of Prostate Cancer in the United States. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 61, 1379, 1978.

(n6:) Weisburger, J. Nutrition and Cancer: On the Mechanisms Bearing on Causes of Cancer of the Colon, Breast, Prostate, and Stomach. Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 56, 673, 1980.

(n7:) Haenszel, op. cit.

(n8:) Wynder, E. The Dietary Environment and Cancer. Journal of the American Dietary Association, 71, 385, 1997.

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By Edwin Flatto, M.D.

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