Health

Vegan diet and physical exercises help fight prostate cancer

A new study has revealed that frequent changes in diet, physical activities and reduction of stress changes the expression of hundreds of genes. A change of lifestyle shows a positive influence on genes, making them fight cancer or turn off the genes that develop cancer.

"These findings are very exciting. They counter the genetic nihilism I hear so often. People say, 'It's all in my genes, there's nothing I can do,' but actually you can do quite a lot," Dr. Dean Ornish, the lead scientist of the research, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Researchers concluded earlier than incidents of prostate cancer are a lot less frequent in those areas of the world where people are used to low-fat diet presumably based on vegetables and fruit. The research prompted another scientific initiative to find out whether diet and lifestyle could decrease the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in men diagnosed with early prostate cancer.

It was revealed later that intensive changes in lifestyle, particularly a dietary change, allowed men to lower their PSA scores by four percent. Men in the control group reported a rise of their PSA score by six group. Vegan food, daily walks and stress management practices help humans fight the disease, the scientists concluded.

"I thought younger people with milder disease would show the most improvement, but neither age nor disease severity made as much difference as adherence," said Ornish.

"It's encouraging to see that by going on a very low-fat diet that you can change gene expression in the prostate itself, but just because changes can happen, you don't yet know if it would mean anything for cancer risk," said Dr. Simon J. Hall, director of the Deane Prostate Health and Research Center, and the chairman of urology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Prostate cancer is a disease in which cancer develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. It occurs when cells of the prostate mutate and begin to multiply out of control. These cells may spread (metastasize) from the prostate to other parts of the body, especially the bones and lymph nodes. Prostate cancer may cause pain, difficulty in urinating, erectile dysfunction and other symptoms.

Rates of prostate cancer vary widely across the world. Although the rates vary widely between countries, it is least common in South and East Asia, more common in Europe, and most common in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is least common among Asian men and most common among black men, with figures for white men in-between. However, these high rates may be affected by increasing rates of detection.

Around 35,000 men in the UK are diagnosed per year; where around 10,000 die of it. However, many men who develop prostate cancer never have symptoms, undergo no therapy, and eventually die of other causes. That is because malignant neoplasms of the prostate are, in most cases, slow-growing, and because most of those affected are over 60. Hence they often die of causes unrelated to the prostate cancer, such as heart/circulatory disease, pneumonia, other unconnected cancers or old age. Many factors, including genetics and diet, have been implicated in the development of prostate cancer.

Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. Often it is diagnosed during the workup for an elevated PSA noticed during a routine checkup. Sometimes, however, prostate cancer does cause symptoms, often similar to those of diseases such as benign prostatic hypertrophy. These include frequent urination, increased urination at night, difficulty starting and maintaining a steady stream of urine, blood in the urine, and painful urination. Prostate cancer is associated with urinary dysfunction as the prostate gland surrounds the prostatic urethra. Changes within the gland therefore directly affect urinary function. Prostate cancer may also cause problems with sexual function, such as difficulty achieving erection or painful ejaculation. Because the vas deferens deposits seminal fluid into the prostatic urethra, and secretions from the prostate gland itself are included in semen content, prostate cancer can affect sexual performance and cause painful ejaculation.

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