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Fruits and Veggies Take Aim at Prostate Cancer

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Jan 14, 2014) - Is a healthy prostate on your list of 2014 goals? Maybe not, but it could be a nice side effect of the New Year's resolution chart-toppers. Healthy eating is far more than a weight loss strategy, and it seems Americans have finally made the connection between mouth and body. Now, researchers are taking the concept of food as disease prevention one step further. The Men's Eating and Living Study (MEAL) is exploring how increasing fruit and vegetable intake might actually play a role in the fight against prostate cancer after diagnoses. 

The MEAL study is a joint effort of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Department of Defense. Participation is open to men ages 50-80 who are within two years of a prostate cancer diagnosis. The caveat is that participants must not undergo active prostate cancer treatment such as robotic prostate surgery, radiation or hormone therapy. Participants in the MEAL study are under active surveillance of their prostate cancer. 

"We're far from trusting fruits and vegetables to eradicate prostate cancer, but there is tremendous value in understanding how these foods fight disease," said David B. Samadi, MD, Chairman of Urology and Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. "Disease prevention and disease treatment are intricately woven." 

While the MEAL study is focused on fruits, vegetables and nutrition counseling, the list of prostate cancer-fighting foods may be vast. Earlier studies have explored foods and ingredients that play a role in preventing and controlling cancer cells, such as green tea, fish, broccoli and cabbage. Lycopene from tomatoes and other red foods may reduce prostate cancer risk by as much as 80 percent. Four cups of coffee a day could reduce prostate cancer progression or recurrence by 59 percent. Even the carvacrol found in oregano was able to battle prostate cancer cells in a lab.

"Diet is so easily controlled. The concept of modifying what we eat to manage disease progression or even one day, supplement treatment to optimize recovery is very powerful," said Dr. Samadi. 

As a prostate cancer expert, Dr. Samadi favors more definitive, proven treatment such as robotic prostate surgery. His own Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique (SMART) is widely regarded for treatment success and post-surgery quality of life. However, Dr. Samadi is also a strong proponent of treating the whole patient. Diet and disease prevention are undeniably part of that process. 

Dr. Samadi encourages men of all ages, regardless of disease status, to maintain a healthy weight. Excess belly fat and metabolic syndrome are known contributors to prostate cancer and are very controllable risk factors.

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