Stacey A. Kenfield, ScD, Professor and Associate Chair of Research, Urology at the University of California, San Francisco
Dr. Stacey A. Kenfield of the University of California, San Francisco discussed the impact of diet and exercise on prostate cancer progression at the PHEN 2023 Summit. First, Dr. Kenfield explained that about 3.3 million American men live with prostate cancer today and an additional 288,300 new cases of prostate cancer are expected in 2023. Approximately 34,700 men are projected to die from prostate cancer in the U.S. in 2023.
However, a plant-based diet is advised to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Dr. Kenfield explained that moderate or vigorous physical activity and a diet of cruciferous vegetables, fish, cooked tomatoes, and vegetable fats like olive oil may lower one’s risk of prostate cancer progression or death. Dr. Kenfield’s research, however, has found that no more than 10% of men are following these healthy lifestyle factors. Alongside fellow researchers, she conducted a pilot study that looked at whether tech-based interventions could help men adopt healthy behaviors.
The men in the pilot study had access to a web portal, a Fitbit One device, text messaging assistance, a personal lifestyle report, and more. For instance, the subjects had access to recipes, grocery shopping guides, and exercise plans. The researchers recommended eight ways to reduce prostate cancer progression including consuming more than two servings of fish per week and one serving of cruciferous vegetables per day, completing 3 hours of vigorous aerobic exercise per week, and avoiding processed meat.
Dr. Kenfield also outlined the Prostate 8-II study, which enrolled 200 men who were followed every six months for two years after radical prostatectomy surgery. These men received access to a recipe booklet, website, text messages, resistance bands, heart rate monitors, and quarterly coaching calls to implement healthy behaviors.
Further, the speaker discussed the PATH study and its objective to enroll Black and Hispanic men with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer. That study also used mobile health tools to help men incorporate healthy behaviors (nutrition and exercise) into their lifestyles.
June Chan, ScD, Professor and Vice Chair for Education at the University of California, San Francisco
Dr. June Chan of the University of California, San Francisco discussed the benefits of exercise on prostate cancer outcomes at the fourth session of the PHEN 2023 Summit. She covered two research studies published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The first study enrolled more than 2,700 men while the second study enrolled more than 1,400 men.
In the first research study, one group of men was exposed to vigorous physical activity while the second group was exposed to non-vigorous exercise. The results from the study showed a significant drop in prostate cancer-specific mortality after undergoing vigorous physical activity. In the second study, the researchers found subjects who walked at least three hours per week at 3.0 miles per hour or more had a 57% lower risk of prostate cancer recurrence.
Despite the extensive research, there are still many questions that remain, explained Dr. Chan. A few of these questions include:
- What are the effects of aerobic exercise on cancer biomarkers?
- Does diet, exercise, or both impact/prevent prostate cancer progression?
- What type of support can help men exercise more?
Other studies around the world are continuing to corroborate past results and uncover new information about the links between healthy lifestyle factors and prostate cancer progression or death.