The importance of exercise and wellness

Does Any of It Make a Difference?

However much we might like this to be the case, it is extremely unlikely that even major changes to your diet, or a dedicated exercise regimen, or standing on your head for 30 minutes every Friday before breakfast will reduce your risk for all forms of prostate cancer to zero.

Conversely, it is very reasonable to believe that a healthy lifestyle reduces your risk for all cancers, and since prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, a healthy lifestyle will therefore significantly impact your risk for prostate cancer. But let’s be clear, this is an hypothesis. No one has proved this hypothesis to date, and we may never be able to prove it.

There are (and have been for years) all sorts of theories out there about the value of things like soy, tomatoes, and green tea in the diet. However, we now know that high levels of tomatoes do not reduce risk for all forms of prostate cancer. And we suspect that in a randomized, double-blind trial, either eating or not eating one particular food will never be shown to significantly lower a man’s risk for prostate cancer.

So why even worry about exercise and wellness? Because what does seem to be very strongly suggested by the available data, however, is that doing six relatively simple things (for most men) will significantly lower your risk for diagnosis with lethal forms of prostate cancer, so have a look at the information about the UCSF “healthy lifestyle” score.

What We Do Know?

Actually we know more about what we don’t know than we know about what we know. (If that makes sense to you!) Here, however, are some things we DO know:

  • Regular, moderate exercise boosts immunity.
  • A healthy immune system will help you to fight the effects of any form of disease.
  • A regular, healthy diet and sufficient rest on a daily basis will also help to maintain your immune system.

In other  words, we know that if you do “the right things” regularly and in moderation, it will help you to maintain your health — which is not to say that you will be able to reject all the effects of cancer, but you may be able to delay the impact of those effects, or you may be able to recover faster after any treatments that you need.

Based on a recent study by Rogers et al., we also know that prostate cancer patients (at least in the USA) have the same lifestyle problems as the male population as a whole when it comes to things like smoking, alcohol use, sedentary behavior, and obesity. However, they do eat more fruit and vegetables than comparable men who do not have prostate cancer.

There are no definitive correlations between exercise, wellness, and your risk for all forms of prostate cancer (or your ability to fight the disease over time). However, it is reasonable to expect that a health body and a healthy mind will work just as well in “fighting” prostate cancer as they do in counteracting the potential effects of nearly every other known disorder.

So get off the couch and at least walk a couple of miles … and substitute salad for the pizza a little more often! But better still, set out to meet all the goals of the UCSF “healthy lifestyle” score … and start doing this when you are young!

Content of this page last reviewed and updated February 17, 2016
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