According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of South Africa, one in every six SA men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime – with five dying every day (on average) from the disease and more than 4 300, being newly diagnosed, each year.
“However, there is no one ‘magic bullet’ to lay the blame on,” says Patrick Holford.
“A consistent picture is emerging that prostate cancer is caused by a combination of factors, the most significant being exposure to carcinogens, lack of antioxidants, inflammation, and excess hormonal growth factors,” he says.
Patrick is convinced that exposure to herbicides, pesticides, hormone-disrupting chemicals and toxic elements such as cadmium, may initiate the ‘cancer seeds’ that cause prostate (and breast) cancer. A pro-inflammatory diet of fried food, processed meat, refined foods and a lack of antioxidants helps generate more oxidants, potentially leading to cell damage.
“A diet high in organic fresh fruit, vegetables and whole foods, low in meat, but including anti-inflammatory omega-3-rich oily fish, can minimise the risk of developing prostate cancer,” he says.
Interestingly, a 2012 study conducted by the UK’s National Cancer Research Network, in which men were given four foods that slow down cancer cell growth, reported a 64% reduction in PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels – the most commonly used screening test for prostate health.
The four cancer- fighting foods that you need to add to your grocery list are:
Pomegranate – compounds in this fruit inhibit the formation of carcinogens and also inhibit cancer cells from producing growth hormones. Several studies have shown to reduce PSA production and levels.
Green tea – contains a type of polyphenol called catechins. These accumulate in prostate tissue and selectively kill cancer cells, reducing PSA levels. Studies in Japan show that men who drink the most green tea reduce their risk of prostate cancer by up to 86%.
Turmeric – this potent anti-inflammatory herb contains curcumin, which helps to reduce the spread of prostate cancer cells and so increase prostate cancer survival rates. It also stops cancer cells producing PSA.
Broccoli – and other cruciferous vegetables contain sulphur-rich compounds that are potent anti-cancer agents. Men who eat a lot of cruciferous vegetables have a 40% lower risk of prostate cancer. These foods also lower PSA production in cell studies.