Nutrition plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer. Eating the right kinds of foods before, during and after treatment can help in tolerating treatment better as well as facilitate a patient’s recovery. Eating a healthy diet can also help in maintaining energy, strength and quality of life as you go through and recover following treatment. After prostate cancer is diagnosed, a treatment plan will be determined which may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or some combination of these treatments.
All these therapies can affect both healthy and cancerous cells. While it’s important to help your body kill the cancer cells, it is also critical to promote the growth and/or repair of healthy cells. Many of the therapies used for the treatment of prostate cancer may result in side effects which can cause loss of appetite, nausea and weight loss. While there many variables that are out of your control during treatment, nutrition however is definitely one aspect that you can manage.
Nutrition During Treatment
During treatment, the way that your body uses nutrients may change. Here are some tips to help you:
- Maintain a healthy weight. For many men, this means avoiding weight loss by getting enough calories on a daily basis. For men who are overweight and are obese, this may mean losing some weight. If you are trying to lose weight, it should be moderate, meaning only about a pound a week.
- Get all of the essential nutrients your body needs, such as protein, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, such as carotenoids, and water. Not only will your body function better, you will feel better.
- Be as active as you can, such as taking a daily walk, riding a bike or engaging in moderate exercise. If you sit or sleep too much, you may lose muscle mass and increase your body fat, even if you are not gaining weight.
The nutrient needs of a cancer patient vary from person to person. If you are struggling to eat enough or are eating too much, nutrition counseling may help you get essential nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, and minerals into your diet and maintain a healthy body weight. Your doctors, nurses, and dietitians can help you to identify your nutritional goals and plan strategies to help you meet them.
Nutrition After Treatment
Choosing to eat a diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables and other unprocessed, low-fat foods will help you to regain strength after prostate cancer treatment. Nutritious eating can also reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. In addition, research suggests that making healthy food choices in your survivorship may lower your risk of recurrence and help you live longer. According to many experts, the types of foods recommended to help prevent prostate cancer are the same ones that protect against prostate cancer recurrence.