Diet and Prostate Cancer…In golf they say a “hook won’t listen to a damn thing you say.” To “our chagrin?”

“don’t nobody love you like your mother”…..jennie cooper

When I first started this blog about a year ago, the first thing I noted about tooling around the internet for subject matter was the emotion and angst out there about prostate cancer. People using terms like “money hungry urologist,” “money making companies at the expense of patients,” “how to cure this or that without surgery (because surgery is a biased recommendation of a doctor wanting to make money you see),” and of course all the “unnecessary PSA’s, biopsies and etc, etc.” It actually surprised me, it was not something I had detected in my practice, and I feel I am aware of my patient’s emotions. And then the message boards and the patient survivor moderators. That was a surprise and an awakening of sorts as well. These guys are very possessive of their sites and in my personal experience don’t want doctor input (remember we are biased and money hungry and only recommend what will pad the ole pocket) and I feel discourage it. I was kicked off two sites and defamed by moderators who thought I was on their site to profit for my book. As opposed, I thought, of letting people know there was a book that had a urologist as a patient.

But this is today’s thought. I sent a copy of a cartoon I made about the myths of prostate cancer and I stated that besides being Black, having a family history of prostate cancer and a high fat diet associated with industrialized nations, there was not a big  role of diet in prostate cancer. Certainly a healthy lifestyle, exercise and eating properly will not hurt, but to say that it will prevent or cure a prostate cancer…I just have not seen in my 25 five years of urology. So the guy I sent it too was someone who had a prostate cancer awareness site and at the time I was trying to grow my internet “footprint.” He wrote back that I was very irresponsible for not including diet and lifestyle as a cause of prostate cancer. In particular objected to my statement that,”Frank Zappa’s prostate cancer probably had nothing to do with his lifestyle.” I still believe that. I don’t think you get the kind of aggressive prostate cancer from lifestyle. To me it’s a gene  thing, bad luck or just a prostate gone bad. Now having said that, again, to maximize everything sure…good lifestyle, eat right, exercise and minimize the unknowns. But, that I a lot different than proclaiming you can “prevent, cure, or dramatically change the course of an aggressive prostate cancer.” I think that is irresponsible.

In my case, I excercise, eat a low fat  diet, have grown and eaten millions of tomatoes (lycopene) and I got prostate cancer. On my twitter page, the majority of my followers I determined were people or companies that have health foods that prevent cancers. There is a market for that out there…are they “money hungry?” Regarding the below , is this a so called Proxy headline. The subject matter doesn’t fit  the headline but gets your attention and sticks with the “diet storyline.” They just won’t let it go will they?



Prostate Cancer: More Soy In Diet May Protect Against Deadly Disease

05 May 2011


Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men and many have felt that taking natural supplements could help stave off the progression of the disease. However a new study out of Canada finds that ingesting vitamin E, selenium and soy for example serve as no benefit to men who were at a higher risk of developing the disease.


In this study, the researchers assigned 303 men to take either a combination of the supplements or a non-nutritive powder that resembled the supplements every day for three years. When comparing the number of cases of cancer in each group after three years, the results were nearly identical. Twenty-six out of every 100 men developed prostate cancer after three years, regardless of whether they took the supplement or the placebo powder.


Dr. Neil Fleshner, who worked on the new research and heads the urology department at the University Health Network in Toronto frankly states:



“To our chagrin, there was no benefit. We need to look at new strategies and novel nutritional agents.”



Vitamin E and selenium are both antioxidants that are present in foods. All the men had signs of pre-cancerous cells, which put them at a higher risk for developing prostate cancer.


The current research differed from previous work in that it included soy. Fleshner said rates of prostate cancer are much lower in China and Japan, where people consume soy in large amounts, than in the United States or Canada. The results don’t rule out that soy might be beneficial to those who eat it frequently for decades, but three years of extra soy don’t appear to help prevent prostate cancer.


In a study published in October 2004 by the Urological Sciences Research Foundation found that when Japanese men migrate to the United States and adopt a Western lifestyle, the soy protection against prostate cancer begins to disappear within one generation. The researchers suggested that the western diet containing high animal saturated fats and low soy content may be the contributors to the higher incidences of prostate cancer.


Many people often associate the benefits of soy with breast cancer. Indeed, data on soy and prostate cancer has been most promising; many studies support the role of soy in the prevention and possible treatment of prostate cancer. During the late 80s, researchers found that Japanese men in Hawaii who ate tofu at least 5 times per week had 65% less chance of developing prostate cancer than those who ate tofu only once a week or less. In 1998, researchers found that men who drank soy milk at least once a day had a 70% less chance of developing prostate cancer than those who never drank soy milk at all.


Dr. Eric Klein, chair of the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at the Cleveland Clinic concluded:



“I think that in the absence of more compelling scientific data for vitamin E and selenium, that we should move on.”



Prostate cancer is diagnosed in 156 out of every 10,000 men in the United States each year. However, some of the tumors may never become deadly and there is ongoing debate over the best way to treat them.


Sources: The Journal of Clinical Oncology and The Urological Sciences Research Foundation



7 Replies to “Diet and Prostate Cancer…In golf they say a “hook won’t listen to a damn thing you say.” To “our chagrin?””

  1. Great comments, my wife is a vegan. So I in turn consume what is presented at the table. She always thought I would out live her. Both my parents are alive, mid 80s. No history of cancer. Bingo, I get prostate cancer at 53.

    I like your open approach to this subject. Love your pics of the pets.

    Happy Mothers Day.



  2. I have been a tomato addict all my life. I eat anything and everything that has tomatoes in it as often as possible, and after a triple coronary bypass 16 years ago I adopted a low-fat, high-fiber diet. It worked for the heart, as before prostate surgery a pre-op angiogram showed one venous graft 40% blocked, the other only 20% blocked and the arterial graft totally clear. My cardiologist thought that was great after 15 years. And yet, despite this healthy, tomato-filled lifestyle I got prostate cancer. You can’t extrapolate from one case, but diet sure didn’t protect me.


  3. Dr,McHugh the websites and blog sites you have visited must have been somewhat radical. I have heard the comments you experienced rarely. You must, however, realize that the general public associate urologists with surgeons and as such have an innate fear. Unfortunately there are no Physician Specialists who focus on prostate cancer. There may no longer be such an animal as a general Physician specialist.
    Back to the point the complaints I mainly hear are to do with the fact that the partners are rarely asked about their current sex life. The next bone of contention is that they are frequently told that impotency can be rectified with pills, shots and acessories like pumps. This is only a half truth. Both partners need to know that these pills, pumps and shots lack spontaneity. They are not a substitute in any way shape, size or form for spontaneous sex. They need to know this and have it thoroughly explained to them. As I see this, the problem most likely fits squarely on the shoulders of whoever the treating physician happens to be. Lack of time must never be an excuse but I suspect it is discomfort on the physician’s part when it comes to discussing sexual issues. If either of these scenarios lie at the root of the problem I strongly reccomend that someone experienced in sexual issues be brought onto the team.


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