Improve Prostate Cancer Recovery

When you have prostate cancer, you want to get better as quickly as possible. Fortunately, you can improve your chances of a successful recovery. Here are some four areas of focus:

1. Healthy diet. Diet and cancer go hand in hand. For example, high-fat diets increase your risk for prostate cancer recurrence. Excess fat, especially around your middle, secretes hormones and proteins that help cancer cells-especially aggressive cancers-grow.

Here are a few tips for eating healthy.

  • Skip high-fat foods, including red meat and fried foods.
  • Eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables (preferably steamed or raw) and whole grains. Tomato-based foods, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli and cauliflower), and green and black teas are just a few of the many powerful cancer-fighting foods you can include in your diet.
  • Take a multi-vitamin.
  • Don't overcook meat at high temperatures, or cook meat with the skin; it produces carcinogenic substances.
  • Minimize your sugar consumption.
  • Restrict your overall calorie intake.

2. Don't smoke. Men with prostate cancer who smoke are more likely to die from their disease. If you're already a smoker, quit.

3. Physical activity. There are no two ways about it: physical activity is good for your overall health, helps reduce your risk of cancer, and can help you recover from prostate cancer.

Cancer-related inflammation leads to the wasting away of normal prostate tissue near cancer areas.

Exercise lowers inflammation. It also boosts your immune function, increases natural antioxidants (cancer fighting substances), increases blood flow to your body (and your penis), and helps you maintain a healthy weight (and avoid excess fat).

Three hours per week of vigorous exercise is ideal, but moderate exercise is beneficial as well. Studies have shown that the more hours you devote to exercise, the better your survival chances.

4. Kegel exercises. If you thought Kegel exercises were just for women, think again. Kegels help minimize incontinence and erectile problems following prostate cancer surgery. If you've never done Kegels, first find your pelvic floor muscles by stopping the flow of urination. Then, squeeze these muscles 10 times for five seconds (with a break between reps) up to four times daily.

If haven't already had surgery but your doctor recommends it, ask him if you qualify for laparoscopic surgery. It's minimally invasive, so you recover faster and with less pain and blood loss.

Use your prostate cancer diagnosis as a springboard to develop a new, healthier lifestyle. You'll recovery more quickly, reduce your risk of recurrence, and improve your overall quality of life.

Nelson, Roxanne. "Smoking Linked to Higher Prostate Cancer Mortality." Medscape Medical News. Web. 22 June 2011.

New York Presbyterian. "Speeding Recovery From Prostate Cancer Surgery." Web. 27 October 2009.

Women Against Prostate Cancer. "Kegel Exercises: A Tutorial." Web. 24 June 2011.

Mozes, Alan. "Exercise may improve odds against prostate cancer death." USA Today. Web. 16 January 2011.

Prostate Cancer Foundation. "Nutrition, Exercise and Prostate Cancer." Web.