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Supplements To Protect Against Prostate Cancer

Doctorpedia Editorial Team Doctorpedia Editorial Team May 12, 2020
Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen

Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that affects the prostate–a gland in men that produces seminal fluid. It’s often a slow-growing type of cancer that is relatively easy to manage and treat–if diagnosed in its early stages. Most men with prostate cancer do not end up dying from it as opposed to other types of cancers which can be more aggressive. Generally, a man doesn’t develop prostate cancer until late in life when other health problems also appear. Each man who is diagnosed with prostate cancer should work closely with his healthcare provider to determine how to treat this type of cancer based on his other health issues–it may be that a “watchful waiting” approach is better than a highly aggressive treatment.

 

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men, and although it is diagnosed mostly in older men, 1 in 9 men will develop it during their lifetime. Symptoms of prostate cancer may include trouble urinating, blood in semen, bone pain, erectile dysfunction, and discomfort or pain in the pelvic area.

 

Since prostate cancer is often low-risk, men with prostate cancer may not even need treatment at all, depending on how slowly the cancer is growing and if it isn’t spreading to other areas of the body. But if doctors determine that the cancer is high-risk, a number of treatments may be on the table including surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy. However, many men opt instead for alternative medicine to treat their cancer. Alternative medicine is a controversial subject because many alternative treatments are ineffective, and some may cause more harm than good. Nonetheless, men often take supplements to treat or protect against prostate cancer. Here are some foods and supplements that are often used to avoid or combat prostate cancer.

Tomatoes

 

Tomatoes contain a chemical called lycopene, which can reduce one’s risk of developing prostate cancer. However, scientists have not found any evidence that lycopene can slow the progression of prostate cancer or prevent against a relapse.

Pomegranate

 

Some studies have found that men with prostate cancer who drank pomegranate juice had slower cancer progression. But other studies showed that drinking pomegranate juice had no impact on prostate cancer progression. Either way, it can’t hurt to try.

 

Green tea

 

Green tea, popular throughout Asia, is known to have many benefits. Recently, researchers found that Asians have a lower risk of developing several types of cancer, and one theory is that their frequent consumption of green tea plays a factor. When scientists continued to probe into the topic, they found that green tea may reduce one’s risk of prostate cancer.

 

Soy

 

Soy, found in products like miso and tofu, is another plant product widely used in Asia. Some research has shown that men with prostate cancer who consumed soy products had lower levels of prostate-specific antigens (PSAs) in the blood, although not all studies came to the same conclusion. Even if there’s no consensus on soy to treat prostate cancer, it’s a very healthy food product.

Saw Palmetto

 

The fruits of this dwarf palm have been used traditionally to help reduce the size of the prostate, helping to improve urination and reduce inflammation. Some studies have shown that it is effective in reducing symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), but no studies show that it helps protect against or fight prostate cancer. Scientists believe that saw palmetto works by reducing the levels of testosterone and DHT in body tissues, which may help reduce cancer risk for those types of cancer that are related to these hormones.

 

Beta Sitosterol

 

This substance is found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. It is also available as a supplement. It seems to be effective in reducing symptoms of BPH, and it has a range of other uses, such as lowering cholesterol levels and reducing inflammation, particularly of the prostate. However, it does not appear to be effective as a way to avoid or fight prostate cancer. 

 

The bottom line is that prostate cancer is very treatable and rarely fatal. Most forms of alternative medicine to avoid or treat prostate cancer have not been proven to be effective. It may not hurt to try them out because they are all helpful in one way or another, but you should always check with your healthcare provider before using any supplement.

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