Lifestyle Factors and Prostate Cancer

Lifestyle factors can have an important effect on overall quality of life and the risk of common chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. For men with prostate cancer lifestyle factors (diet, body weight and physical activity) can also help to lower the risk of cancer progression and minimize the common side effects of cancer treatment. Making changes to your lifestyle is very individual. After a diagnosis of prostate cancer some men may find it is the right time and make changes easily, while other men may find it easier to make smaller, more gradual changes. Keep in mind that any amount of positive change in lifestyle habits is likely to offer health benefits. Body weight Achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight is important for men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer for several reasons. A healthy weight may decrease the risk of prostate cancer recurrence and improve survival and it benefits overall health by decreasing the risk of health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and other new cancers. A healthy body weight is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18.5–24.9. See Calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI) (page 48). A BMI of greater than 25.0 (considered “overweight”) and a BMI greater than 30.0 (“obese”) are associated with a number of health risks. A higher waist circumference is also important in predicting health risk and men are recommended to maintain a waist circumference less than 102 cm (40 inches). Weight loss is recommended if your BMI is greater than 25.0 and/or waist circumference is greater than 102 cm (40 inches). See Body Weight (page 46) and What is a Healthy Weight (page 47). If you are overweight or obese prevention of further weight gain is the first step.

What you need to know Being a healthy body weight (BMI = 18.5–24.9) is associated with many health benefits including a lower risk of prostate cancer recurrence and improved survival. The risk of prostate cancer recurrence increases in men who are overweight and obese and also can lower the rate of survival. If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is more than 25.0 and/or your waist circumference is greater than 102 cm (40 inches) then weight loss is recommended. Ideally it is best to prevent weight gain, and to achieve a healthy weight using a balanced diet that is reduced in calories along with regular physical activity. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity per week plus muscle and bone strengthening activities at least 2 days per week. This is beneficial for overall health, to minimize the side effects of hormone therapy used to treat prostate cancer and to help with weight loss or maintenance.