The Benefits of Plant-Based Diets in Prostate Cancer Management

by Ella

Diet, a modifiable factor in the spectrum of prostate cancer, holds significant importance, ranging from prevention to advanced disease management. Globally, plant-based diets have gained popularity due to their numerous health and environmental advantages. This article explores the potential benefits of plant-based diets in the context of prostate cancer, focusing on their impact on prevention, treatment, and overall well-being.

Preventing Prostate Cancer: An analysis of data from over 47,000 participants in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study revealed a noteworthy finding – individuals who incorporated more plant-based foods into their diets exhibited a 19% lower risk of fatal prostate cancer. This association was particularly pronounced among men under 65 years of age. Similar results have been observed in various studies, including one based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which reported that men who predominantly consumed healthy, plant-based foods were 53% less likely to have elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels.


Plant-Based Diets After Diagnosis: Beyond prevention, plant-based diets also offer benefits for individuals already diagnosed with prostate cancer. A systematic review examined vegan or vegetarian diets in the context of prostate cancer and identified five interventional studies. These studies focused on two primary clinical scenarios: active surveillance and biochemical recurrence after treatment. Notably, the Prostate Cancer Lifestyle Trial, a randomized clinical trial, demonstrated that a lifestyle intervention incorporating a vegan diet, physical activity, and mindfulness significantly reduced the need for treatment among participants. Furthermore, plant-based diets were associated with more favorable PSA kinetics, such as longer doubling times, in patients with biochemical recurrence.


Enhancing Quality of Life: Recent data presented at the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting highlight the positive impact of increased plant-based food consumption on the quality of life among men undergoing prostate cancer treatment. These improvements encompass sexual and urinary functions, as well as other aspects such as bowel health and vitality.


Addressing Comorbid Conditions: Prostate cancer patients, especially those with favorable-risk tumors, face a higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease than from the cancer itself. Even among patients with metastatic prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease remains a significant competing risk. Plant-based diets have been shown to mitigate the progression of major comorbid conditions like coronary artery disease and diabetes.


Holistic Lifestyle Medicine Approach: Nutrition is just one facet of a holistic lifestyle medicine approach. Other essential components include physical activity, stress management, avoidance of risky substances, restorative sleep, and fostering social connections. Integrating these elements into patient discussions is pivotal for comprehensive care.

Resources for Patients: Patients seeking information on plant-based diets can explore resources such as the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine ( and Nutrition Facts ( websites, offering evidence-based videos, fact sheets, and recipes. Additionally, books like “How Not to Die” and documentaries like “The Game Changers” and “Forks Over Knives” provide valuable insights. The Happy Cow website and app ( help users find nearby sources of plant-based food worldwide. Participating in challenges like Meatless Mondays or Veganuary can also serve as engaging starting points.

In conclusion, urologists play a crucial role in holistic patient care. Encouraging patients to adopt a healthy, plant-based diet offers a dual benefit by promoting both prostate health and overall well-being.



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