Living with Prostate Cancer
According to a new study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (1), investigators suggested that despite high overall prevalence of prostate cancer, the patients and their loved-ones have very little knowledge about the different stages and phases of cancer management and survival. After carefully analyzing the quality of life of 263 prostate cancer patients and their spouses; the investigators concluded that there is a strong unmet need of phase-specific programming to assist the patients in living a productive life with prostate cancer.
According to latest statistics:
- Around 2.9 million men in United States are currently living with prostate cancer (1).
- More than 220,800 new cases are diagnosed each year (1).
- About 1 in 7 males are at risk of developing prostate malignancy at some point of their lives
Fortunately, with active surveillance and exceptional treatment modalities, more than 90% patients are able to live for 5 years or more after the treatment (1). However interestingly, the most common cause of death in prostate cancer survivors is heart disease or cardiovascular accidents; suggesting poor lifestyle and dietary choices. According to a new research, diet and lifestyle are linked to good prognosis and longer survival in prostate cancer patients. It is imperative to mention that 10 years after the initial treatment, the survival rate or life-expectancy in prostate cancer patient is same as that of a healthy male.
Improving the overall survival and quality of life in Prostate cancer patients
Experts strongly believe that introducing small changes in the eating habits and physical activity (such as daily exercise) can help you in living a longer and more productive life; especially if you are a prostate cancer survivor.
Just recently, the American Cancer Society has updated the recommendations for prostate cancer survivors to improve the quality of life and minimize the risk of recurrent cancer.
Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
- It is highly recommended to maintain optimal weight during or after the prostate cancer treatment.
- The weight loss after recovering from the treatment of prostate can be beneficial for overweight and obese patients. However, speak to a nutritionist if the weight loss is drastic or significant.
- According to a new research, morbid obesity is strongly linked with poor prognosis in the prostate cancer patients. In other words, metabolic disorders like obesity can increase the risk of morbidity and mortality several folds.
- Maintaining a healthy exercise or physical activity regimen during prostate cancer treatment has been proven safe and helpful in improving the quality of life. Data indicates that adult males who incorporate dynamic lifestyle report improved muscle strength, lower rate of fatigue and cardiovascular fitness. In addition, dynamic lifestyle is also preventive against mental health issues like anxiety and depression (that are fairly common in prostate cancer patients).
- According to a new research, regular physical activity is associated with longer survival. For example, report published in peer-reviewed Journal of Clinical Oncology (2) suggested that the males who perform at least 3 hours of active physical activity each day are 60% less likely to die of prostate cancer.
- It is highly recommended to seek the help of a registered healthcare professionals to learn what exercise protocols are best for you.
Consume a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables
- Prostate cancer patients are advised to adopt a healthy and organic diet to ward-off free radicals. For example, addition of organic fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry and foods low in refined grains is associated with better health outcomes. In addition, avoid beef, pork, lamb and processed meat (such as: hot dogs, sausages and bacon)
- Limit your dairy intake as high calcium intake is associated with bad prognosis.
Look for support and help from the community and loved-ones
Prostate malignancy like any other cancer, is a serious condition that takes its toll on physical as well as emotional health. It is highly advised to seek support and help from the loved-ones.
The most troubling areas that are of utmost concern for most prostate cancer patients and their spouses are; psychological distress due to a serious ailment, changes in the sexual interests and stamina and living with troubling symptoms of lower urinary tract (4).
For best results:
- Join a support group of other prostate cancer survivors to learn more about the preventive as well as treatment strategies, coping tips and lifestyle modification.
- Psychological counseling services should also be availed; especially in males with severe symptoms.
- Speak to your healthcare professionals to explore different treatment options and possible complications of each treatment modality in order to make an informed decision regarding your health.
- Sexual counseling and help should also be sought to maintain compliance with the treatment regimen.
1. Northouse, L. L., Mood, D. W., Montie, J. E., Sandler, H. M., Forman, J. D., Hussain, M., … & Kershaw, T. (2007). Living with prostate cancer: patients’ and spouses’ psychosocial status and quality of life. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 25(27), 4171-4177.
2. Kenfield, S. A., Stampfer, M. J., Giovannucci, E., & Chan, J. M. (2011). Physical activity and survival after prostate cancer diagnosis in the health professionals follow-up study. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 29(6), 726-732.
3. Lippman, S. M., Klein, E. A., Goodman, P. J., Lucia, M. S., Thompson, I. M., Ford, L. G., … & Coltman, C. A. (2009). Effect of selenium and vitamin E on risk of prostate cancer and other cancers: the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT). Jama, 301(1), 39-51.
4. Ream, E., Quennell, A., Fincham, L., Faithfull, S., Khoo, V., Wilson-Barnett, J., & Richardson, A. (2008). Supportive care needs of men living with prostate cancer in England: a survey. British journal of cancer, 98(12), 1903-1909.