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Diet/Lifestyle Change and Prostate Cancer

by Dr. Randy


Dr. Dean Ornish led a study published in the Journal of Urology that evaluated the effect of a vegan, low-fat diet and nutritional supplements along with meditation on the progression of diagnosed prostate cancer. All men in the study had biopsy documented prostate cancer in early stages (T1-T2). The study included 93 men divided into an experimental group assigned to the diet/lifestyle program and a control group not given any instructions. Both groups had elected not to pursue conventional treatment.

The diet consisted of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and soy products, with approximately 10 percent of calories from fat. Men in the experimental group took supplements including soy (1 daily serving of tofu plus 58 gm fortified soy protein powder), fish oil (3 gm), vitamin E (400 IU), selenium (200 mcg), and vitamin C (2 gm). The lifestyle program included walking 30 minutes 6 days weekly, yoga stretching, meditation, imagery or progressive relaxation for 60 minutes daily, and participation in a support group for one hour once each week.

Progression of prostate cancer was measured by a blood test for PSA (prostate specific antigen) and a lab test involving the stimulation of prostate cancer cells (LNCaP cell line), a test extensively used to study the benefits of various therapeutic interventions. These tests were performed at the beginning and at one year after initiation of the study. The diet group showed a decrease in PSA levels, and the control group had an increase in PSA levels. An increase in PSA predicts clinical progression (metastasis) in the majority of men with prostate cancer. The lab test showed that serum from men in the diet group decreased the growth of prostate cancer cells almost 8 times more than that in the control group. In addition, those men who followed the diet and lifestyle instructions more rigorously showed a greater decrease in PSA levels and a greater decrease in the growth of cancer cells, suggesting that the program was directly related to the observed effects.


This study continues to verify the use of vegan programs in the treatment of cancer. Both macrobiotics and raw food enthusiasts have insisted for decades that their diets are successful in cancer prevention and treatment. A truly controversial aspect of this study is the use of soy products, which many soy critics have accused of contributing to the incidence and spread of cancer because of their phytoestrogens. The supplement program in this study may have been beneficial as well. Both fish oil and selenium should have therapeutic effects on prostate cancer. And finally, the effects of meditation and stress reduction on immune function and self-healing is undeniable.

Ornish D, et al. Intensive lifestyle changes my affect the progression of prostate cancer. Journal of Urology 2005 Sept; 174(3):1065-70.

For more thorough discussions of natural treatment of prostate cancer go to, the site of Dr. Isaac Eliaz who specializes in the breast cancer and prostate cancer treatment.