An Integrative Approach to Prostate Cancer

The mostly indolent natural history and long overall survival associated with a diagnosis of prostate cancer provides a unique opportunity for men to explore diet and lifestyle interventions to alter the trajectory of their disease. As many patients may be appropriate for postponing conventional therapy, the effects of various integrative interventions can be investigated. In addition, treatment of prostate cancer with surgery, radiation, or androgen deprivation therapy, all may produce physical or psychological side effects that could be amenable to complementary therapies. This article serves to review salient information in the published literature.

A review of published research was conducted.

A plant-based antioxidant-rich diet with an emphasis on cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, soy, pomegranate, and marine omega 3 fatty acids while avoiding saturated fats, including dairy products is the best option. Supplementation with vitamin D3, omega 3, and some nutraceutical-based preparations may be advised. It is likely prudent to avoid vitamin E and selenium supplements. Physical activity has been shown to have multiple benefits in men diagnosed with all stages of prostate cancer from strengthening bones, improving body habitus, and enhancing overall wellbeing. Yoga, combining physical activity with a mind-body component, has been shown to have a salutogenic effect in both prostate cancer patients and their caregivers. Traditional Chinese Medicine may be particularly useful in managing side effects of conventional treatments, especially the hot flashes associated with androgen deprivation therapy. Although the long natural history, availability of a useful blood marker of disease progression and prolonged survival are overall positive features, they also combine to allow men to live for a long time with diagnosed cancer, fear of progression, or recurrence and fixation on changes in their prostate-specific antigen level. The resultant stress can be deleterious to general health as well as possibly the natural history of their disease. Mind-body interventions to reduce stress, including mindfulness-based stress reduction and support groups may be useful adjunctive therapies.

Men with prostate cancer may benefit from lifestyle and complementary interventions integrated with their conventional care.

Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). 0000 Jan [Epub]

Donald I Abrams

Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and UCSF Center for Integrative Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.

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