Image Credit: Kristina DeMuth. This image has been modified.

Consequences of Prostate Cancer Treatment

A cancer diagnosis is seen as a teachable moment in medicine where we can try to get people to eat healthier, but “research has suggested that male cancer patients may be reluctant to introduce dietary modification…This has been attributed to dietary modifications often being viewed as mimicking “feminine” eating behaviours, such as emphasizing an increase in fruit and vegetables.” 

As I discuss in my video Changing a Man’s Diet After a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis, “[a]lthough healthy eating might enhance long-term survival, few men with prostate cancer make diet changes to advance their well-being.” Many of the cancer survival trials require adherence to strict plant-based diets, and though researchers tried providing extensive nutrition education and counseling programs, dietary adherence was still a challenge.

Apparently the way Dean Ornish was able to reverse the progression of prostate cancer with a plant-based diet was by home-delivering prepared meals to the subjects’ doors, figuring men are so lazy they’ll just eat whatever’s put in front of them. After all, male culture tends to encourage men to drink beer and eat convenience food and meat.

Take Men’s Health magazine, for example. Included in the list of things men should never apologize for were liking McDonald’s, not offering a vegetarian alternative, and laughing at people who eat trail mix. The magazine features articles with such titles as “Vegetables Are for Girls” and sections like “Men and Meat: There’s Only One Kind of Flesh We Like Better and Even Then She’d Better Know How to Grill.”

To appeal to male sensibilities, doctors are advised to use ‘body as machine’ metaphors, framing “men’s health in terms of mechanical objects, such as cars, requiring tuning.” But if men are so concerned about their masculinity and manhood, maybe we instead should share a bit about what prostate cancer treatment entails. The prostate is situated at the base of the penis, so when you core it out with a radical prostatectomy, you lose about an inch off your penis, if it gets erect at all. Only 16 percent of men undergoing the procedure will regain their pre-surgery level of erectile functioning.

Patients are typically quoted erectile dysfunction rates around 60 to 70 percent, but studies have generally considered erectile function recovery “as the ability to maintain an erection hard enough for penetration about 50% of the time…” So, occasionally being able to get an erection is considered recovery, but when a surgeon tells patients they will recover function, the patients probably assume that means the kind of function they had prior to surgery, which only happens 16 percent of the time and only 4 percent of the time in men over 60. Only 1 in 25 gets his baseline sexual function back.

Erections aren’t the only issue. Patients experience other problems like orgasm-associated pain even years later and urinary incontinence during foreplay, stimulation, or orgasm. The vast majority of couples overestimate how much function they’re going to recover. Couples reported feeling loss and grief. Having cancer is bad enough without the additional losses. You’d think that would be enough to motivate men to improve their diets, but almost a fourth of the men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer state they would prefer to have their lives cut short rather than live with a diet that prohibits beef and pork. More men would rather be impotent than improve their diet. It appears pleasures of the flesh may sometimes even trump pleasures of the flesh.


Did I say reverse the progression of cancer? See Cancer Reversal Through Diet? and my overview video How Not to Die from Cancer.

For more on prostate cancer prevention and survival, check out:

Interested in more information on maintaining male sexual function? See:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


111 responses to “Consequences of Prostate Cancer Treatment

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  1. Thank you DR GreGeR!!! We have improved our diet substantially. We rarely miss a day of Kale! Purple and Curly is our favorite. The Hubby’s BP is still 135/85 but then he still loves his cheese…… but he also loves his kale and hummus also……. and saves that beef for a once a month night out. He does not eat no meat once a week, but only partakes of meat once a month……. Go Michael Patrick!! and the Earth is Better for It!

  2. How sad this article made me!! I bugged my husband for years to follow a healthier diet. He didn’t. He got prostate cancer 10 years ago, had a radical prostatectomy, and has been impotent ever since. He still has a fairly lousy diet, and I am just left sad and a bit resentful.

    1. Some people probably think they can simply change their diet when they get older, but that mostly does not work. The sooner a person weans themselves from meat the better. Will power often decreases with age, it’s a lot easier to make the habit when young.

      And if moving to a WF PBD while young you get to experience what truly good health is all about. Improvements across the board, including: weight, energy, endurance, recovery times (in workouts), appearance, mental capacity, immune system, etc., etc..

      1. Hello Michael_00,

        It is NEVER too late to change your diet to a Whole Food Plant Based one. Age has little to do with it but mental age may. Too many people think it is ‘too late’ to change but that is just an excuse for them NOT to change because they really don’t want to. I have to write them off as I have found it to be a waste of time if people value their very lives in such low regard. I feel sorry for them but have learned to just move on.

        Sure the younger the better as you avoid most/all lifestyle diseases we of ‘older years’ experience all too often.

        Blessings, Good Health & Longevity,

        Skip Stein Health, Wellness & Longevity Consultant Whole Foods 4 Healthy Living https://www.wholefoods4healthyliving.com https://www.facebook.com/groups/RestoringAmericasHealth/

        Email: SkipStein@WholeFoods4HealthyLiving.com LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/skipstein Twitter: https://twitter.com/SkipStein

        Cell: 407-683-6816 Office: 1.407.680.3914

        “You can’t keep one disease and heal two others – when the body heals it heals everything.” -Charlotte Gerson

      2. Michael, I hope that the adage: “Better late than never” applies to my husband and me. I’ve been a ova-lacto vegetarian for 45+ years — but he became one only 11 years ago, when he switched to eating my vegetarian cooking — at age 65. (I think that living on his own as a widower for 4+ years helped; he was eating a lot of processed food, and gaining weight. He lost about 30 pounds over about 18 mos after becoming vegetarian, and practicing portion control).

        Then we slowly transitioned to plant based whole foods, after discovering this site (and others) about 2 years after I was diagnosed with breast cancer almost 5 years ago, at age 63. My husband was diagnosed for prostate cancer and treated for it shortly before we met (he took 2 years to decide what to do), and I like to think that our change in diets might be helping us both. But amazingly enough, neither one of us ever heard a peep from our oncologists about diet. It makes me furious. And sad.

        Oh, and we both lost even more weight after starting to eat plant based whole foods without trying: I lost about another 5 pounds, and he lost another 15).

        And, he is not impotent. Life is good. And so is our food.

        1. Much about your husband’s story seems to mirror mine, Dr. J. The one striking difference is that I don’t have a life partner to share in my journey, nor one to share in theirs. What you two have together must be precious. Though nobody in their right mind would ever wish for a cancer diagnosis, I believe blessings can follow from one. I’d just bet that it is huge that you and your husband have one another. I’m not the envious type, but boy if I were… :-) But seriously, I feel like I have been blessed in my own ways. As an example, cancer motivated me to adopt a plant-based diet. And it’s not like there is any sacrifice. I enjoy eating now more than I ever did.

    2. Meg,

      I watch my brother on the same path. He has been diagnosed with Kidney Cancer and they already spoke to him about Prostate Cancer a few years ago and I still can only get him to change his diet if I show up with food.

      His wife forcefully has said that she doesn’t want him changing his diet and that she will eat normally no matter what he does, so some of the Type A women don’t want that sissy stuff either and she makes way more money than I do and doesn’t listen to the peanut gallery unless they are six figures.

      1. We see this all too often. One or the other spouse will just refuse to change even when it is Literally a matter of Life or Death. Why this stubborn refusal to change is well beyond me. Not only did my lovely wife change with me but went on to become Certified in Plant Based Nutrition and was named in the top Nine Teaching Chefs in Orlando for 2018 & 2019. AND the Only Plant Based one. Now that is extreme support. We continue to try and pay it forward with our knowledge and experience to try to help others. But as this comment demonstrates, it is an uphill battle. https://publishing.wf4hl.com/paying-it-forward.html

        1. Yes Skip. And it doesn’t help matters that so many have convinced themselves that there is no merit to plant-based eating. I know an advanced prostate cancer patient who has an esteemed science background and career history. I truly believe he has allowed confirmation bias to obscure pretty much all the solid evidence in support of a healthful plant-based diet. He becomes indignant when anyone suggests that he might possibly have any bias at all. It seems that a good many men (and maybe even most) with advanced prostate cancer feel substantially emasculated by their disease and treatment. As a result, they can tend to hang on for dear life to everything else they think a man is supposed to be. It is unfortunate that some of these things have absolutely nothing to do with masculinity. It’s even more unfortunate that some of them may well be a further threat to dear life.

          1. Hello Prompt-d111ca3191115b2a2dac8f2ee6b2eaf8,

            So True Scott. It is just tragic how men, well everyone really, hangs on to old belief systems, habits and ‘traditions’ that are harmful and often Deadly to them as well as their families. To me, when it is a matter of Life or Death, MAN, I’m going for LIFE! Proverbs 16:18 warns that Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Foolish people often hold on to false information, actually embrace it, just for spite and haughty attitudes. Unfortunately most Physicians are in that category and totally fail to acknowledge the Power of Nutrition and a WFPB approach. Maybe what is worse that changing is NOT a hard thing to do and, with a few straightforward substitutions you don’t have to give up ANYTHING you are used to eating and it is DELICIOUS.

            But talking to a brick wall is often easier.

            Blessings, Good Health & Longevity,

    3. If I was a in similar situation with a spouse who refused to sacrifice for the health of his body and marriage, then suffers the consequences,I would not feel obligated to stay.

  3. Perhaps Rip Esselstyn’s approach in the Engine 2 books and programs might be more appealing to men? Definitely couples need to be informed of the actual outcomes of surgery, not the best case scenarios that only occur 16% of the time!

        1. Please dear, I find it hard to concentrate…I just barfed up my last two meals. Morning sickness, doncha know.

          Oh wait….it’s no longer April Fools Day! :-D

          1. YR
            I just read that a 61-year-old grandmother just gave birth to her own grandchild in order for her gay son to have a child and that’s no April fool.

            1. I know, I read that too. Now THAT’s sad. :-(

              The world is filled with a lot of strange characters.

    1. Please allow me to lower the tone of the discussion if YR is unwilling to oblige.

      Q. What is that insensitive bit at the base of the penis called?

      A. The man.

      1. Fumbles, thanks for filling in for YR. That’s a good try, but I think you have a ways to go to compete with YR and George Carlin in the raunchy humor department … just sayin’ :-)

  4. In the fall of 2014, I had EBRT [Electron Beam Radiation Treatment] for what was then, after 9 years of suffering described as “the type to have”. The number 9 is completion in numerology if you believe in such things, I don’t. :-) I told my urologist I felt really lucky to program the ‘right’ one. hahaha While a radical prostatectomy is only one of four invasive procedures, others are hormone therapy & chemotherapy as well as what I endured, the light eternal. hahaha

    I had been on a plant based diet since watching FOK in 2011. That diet and lifestyle intervention was too late, but, perhaps it saved my life, even though with abrupt climate and environmental change, that too, may be a premature statement. :-)

    In 2018, my oncologist discharged me from the active care list at the Halifax, NS VG, which, at the time had state-of-the-art machines to deliver the light eternal. Discharge as a big “C” patient rarely happens. If you are an elder such as this scribbler, you have the big “C”, as the kids say, “like forever”!

    I have remained on a whole foods plant based diet with little added sugar, salt & oil. I also grow 26 raised beds of veg + can, freeze and dry each season’s bounty.

    I told the oncologist then that these are lifestyle diseases. He said he was beginning to see that now.

    My neighbour underwent a radical. He didn’t change his diet. A year later he went in for chemo. He won’t speak about the outcome. Andsoitgoes…

  5. I have been on a WFPB diet for over 18 months. Minor angina is gone. Lower back pain is greatly diminished. My cholesterol is down to 122. My BMI is 21. And (ta-da!) blood flow is much improved to certain areas of my body. I have kissed my last hamburger good-bye – and happily so.

  6. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer (Gleason score 8) about 10 years ago. Too fat for surgery they recommended all sorts of diabolical ‘treatments’ which I promptly ignored. The oncologist gave me just Three Years to LIVE. Are you doing the math? After watching Forks Over Knives and the Gerson Miracle, my supporting wife and I went ‘cold turkey’ (well over the course of a couple weeks) to a Whole Food Plant Based Diet. The lifestyle changes came rapidly following. (https://prostatecancerfight.com/)

    Not only did my wife overcome her heart disease, she at 72 and me at 73 take NO medications and haven’t for 10 years. Are healthy, frequently go on major road trips Hiking in the Western USA and offer to help others to enjoy a Whole Food Plant Based Lifestyle.

    Unfortunately, so many people ignore the FACTS and Choose to continue on their deadly path. It is tragic when SO Many of these deadly diseases, not just cancer, are treatable, Reversible and PREVENTABLE.

    Skip Stein
    Whole Foods 4 Healthy Living
    https://wf4hl.com

      1. If you research just a bit, most ‘treatments’ are mostly ineffective for long term health. These treatments only deal with the SYMPTOM, seldom the CAUSE and that is Lifestyle & Nutrition. I have talked to so many who were ‘treated’ but the cancer returns and often with a vengeance. If you don’t deal with the CAUSE you can never expect long term solutions. That goes for all cancer, heart disease and other lifestyle diseases!

    1. Skip
      I watched your YouTube discussion of your health crisis and the changes that you and your wife made. It was very informative and very inspiring. I was especially happy to find that your wife’s fibromyalgia was relieved by the whole food plant-based diet since I suffer from that as well.

      Lida

      1. Hello Prompt-8a5510d2e54150bfa8a66017fb740b42,

        Thanks Linda. Nancy has a very active FB group (just request to join) and a massive Pinterest set of boards (25,000 recipes) as well as a YouTube Channel. Links are at the bottom of our home page: https://wf4hl.com. Always, just call if you need info or assistance!

        Blessings, Good Health & Longevity,

      2. New to this site… had to comment on fibromyalgia and change of diet. Over twenty years ago I had pain in almost every muscle and joint in my body . Drs. didn’t know what caused it and some years later I met a western trained dr. who practiced integrative medicine ( lots of eastern and holistic medicine) and when I told her I had read that these pains were caused by toxins in my muscles and joints she told me to detox. I went on an elimination diet and gave up all dairy, grains and sugar. After 3 months I was almost pain free, never felt better or looked better. I believe I healed my “leaky gut” and I am still following this diet most of the time 10+ years later. I have to believe diet , particularly a plant based diet,
        is the way to keep down inflammation which is the cause of most chronic disease.

        1. Barbara,

          Thanks for your story. I too am fairly new here. I have been battling headaches and migraines for almost 20 years. I am on day 7 of (almost) no dairy, no eggs, no oil, no wheat and no processed foods. Just today I am feeling a little better, but right when I wake up is still bad. I would love to hear more of your story or any advice would be appreciated.

      1. My little story is just one of thousands by people who have benefited and LIVED; all due to a change to a Plant Based Lifestyle. Just today, we found a new (to us) vegan bakery who’s owner made the switch just 4 years ago and her tumors have shrunken dramatically. Neither of us claim to be ‘cured’ as we ALL have cancer; we are just really healthy Survivors. She has made a business out of her path to healing. Boon to us all! We hope to be regular customers and fast friends. WFPB opens you up to SO many wondrous adventures, meeting new friends and LIVING. I just don’t understand the resistance; do people really enjoy being sick and dying? Very Sad.

        1. Skip,

          I want to say it’s awesome that you and your wife have decided to do it together! I’m actually jealous. My husband says he supports me and will eat whatever I eat, but every chance he gets he eats meat, oil, eggs … everything; which is nearly everyday. He thinks having a salad for dinner every day cancels out all the crap. None of his immediate have lived past 63 years old. His oldest brother is 62 and is on hospice. He is 1 of 8 kids and most of his siblings have heart problems. My husband hasn’t had any problems yet, but I’m betting it’s just around the corner as long as he continues eating the way he is.

          1. Hello Prompt-1f39cc403cf2f79fd7b900dda239cb9a,

            Hi Midge,

            I’m really sorry your husband just doesn’t get it. We just visited a family this week, who’s Female Head wants to start a healthier regime but her husband and older sons are ‘meat centric’ and like your husband, might eat what you prepare but don’t understand/comprehend the REASON for moving toward a Whole Food Plant Based diet. Have him get his triglycerides checked and other blood work. At his age, I’d be willing to bet, if he eats the way you describe, they aren’t great.

            It is truly a sad situation when you realize that a loved one may be harming themselves with what they eat but it IS an addiction and often should be viewed that way. The junk food industry, meat/fish/dairy/egg industry do everything to sell their stuff. Dairy, especially is literally ADDICTIVE and there are a lot of studies to support what I say. Sadly, the first sign of hear disease is Sudden Death, the rest, cancer/diabetes and more, are slow creeping painful death. The REASON why Nancy and I chose our path is we wanted to LIVE, enjoy life and be around for all our Grandkids and Great-grandkids (more?).

            We see friends and family dying from PREVENTABLE disease constantly. My younger brother, my Father, Nancy’s Mom all died WAY too young. Others I have known, worked with and friends have passed needlessly. Tragic and I wish to heck I had an easy solution, but the Desire to Live must outweigh the addictive response to deadly diets.

            Blessings, Good Health & Longevity,

  7. Do the WFPB steps to prevent (and reverse) cancer also help when the prostate starts to press against the urethra?
    I have a narrow urine stream (of which there is little info online), but thankfully no need to urinate overnight, a normal PSA, and no apparent prostate enlargement (as per an ultrasound).
    So lots of WFPB foods, 2 tbsp ground flax daily, no dairy. Anything else?

    1. photoMaldives,
      You were told your prostate was the cause even though there is no enlargement? I do not see why food or supplements would help with that as it sounds like a structural issue.

    2. photoMaldives,

      There are a lot of videos on the subject.

      Look up Prostate Health and Prostate Cancer under topics and start watching. The Dr. Ornish video was something like a 6 part series.

      There are videos for things like Green tea, Cranberry, Turmeric, Tomato products, Almond Milk (versus milk) and there is a synergy video where they ground up 4 Superfoods and put them into capsules and proved that using more than one Superfood created a synergistically more powerful response. Pretty sure the combination they used was green, tea, pomegranate, turmeric, and broccoli, but broccoli and tomato paired together also have a synergistic effect in other cancer research.

      Watch the videos about how to prepare broccoli (or eat broccoli sprouts)

      There are a lot of YouTube videos about how to prepare food without oil and how to prepare dressings without oil.

      Oil is one of the things which can cause cancer to grow more quickly. If you have been exposed to Keto teachings, that will be challenging to wrap your mind around. Dr. McDougall has a video on oil and cancer on YouTube.

      Keto is complicated and has a different set of rules, which I am not going to share because it will confuse you. Mostly, Keto isn’t enough on its own and has some of the opposite rules to Whole Food Plant Based, but both groups contend that it is animal products, which give IGF-1 to cause cancer to grow and both groups recommend eating a lot of vegetables, particularly if you have cancer.

      Whole Food Plant Based includes that oil can also cause tumors to grow faster while Keto points to carbs. Whole Food Plant Based disagrees about carbs, but does agree that sugar and refined carbs can cause cancer to grow faster.

      So sugar and white pasta and white bread should be on the list. Ezekiel bread is the right type of bread to eat if you eat bread. There are many lentil and bean kinds of pasta nowadays and there are shirataki noodles (which are found in the refrigerator section and which have an unpleasant smell and needs rinsing but which taste neutral and have the right mouth feel where you may not even notice that it isn’t pasta once it is properly sauced.)

  8. Skip Stein,
    Your results are amazing and you are to be congratulated. May I ask if you gave up using oil as well? FOK is not entirely rigid on that is it? So how extreme did you go?
    Thanks for your reply in advance
    And Bravo to you and your wife.

      1. Blair,
        Please don’t be so aggressive. FOK which he said he follows excludes OR minimizes the use of oils. I wondered how far he went to achieve those results.

    1. While we limit our oil usage (only use a little grape seed oil for browning tofu, a bit of olive oil for flavoring etc.) you just cannot totally eliminate it when you are cooking; just impossible. As I have often said, LIMIT oil use and use sparingly when cooking certain recipes. You CANNOT ELIMINATE Oil from your diet. Eating an avocado provides WAY MORE oil that used to brown some organic tofu. This ‘no oil’ thing has gotten WAY out of hand. ANY extreme position, especially in Plant Based Cuisine is, well too extreme. If you want to prepare Delicious whole food plant based meals, some browning separate from sauteing (using vegetable broth) is necessary for color, texture and flavor.

      The Exception is for serious medical conditions and heart disease cases where extreme dietary measures should be considered. BUT in general for MOST folks, a limited amount of oil to prepare delicious Whole Food Plant Based Cuisine should not be denigrated.

      1. “This ‘no oil’ thing has gotten WAY out of hand. ANY extreme position, especially in Plant Based Cuisine is, well too extreme.”
        – – – –

        You tell’em, Skip….my feelings exactly.

        1. Hello Prompt-7a34ee7846b35aa4bc965a4ccf254688,

          Yes, it is an outgrowth of the somewhat extreme approach fostered by Dr. Esselstyn for treating heart disease! I really have no idea why or how this became the most recent ‘fad’ for Whole Food Plant Based approach to Lifestyle and Nutrition. Yes, oil is ‘processed’ but so is darn near everything. What we should be fostering is the Whole Food Plant Based Farm to Table approach as much as possible. We are fortunate here in Central Florida to be so close to several organic farms.

          Blessings, Good Health & Longevity,

      2. Avocados contain fats, not refined oils. Same with olives, nuts etc. WFPB is not fat free, just refined oil free.
        If a person does not buy oils, does not have them sitting in their cupboards, then it’s quite simple to cook without them. Not impossible at all. (I wouldn’t want to be browning tofu since the resultant AGEs are a carcinogen) .

        1. “If a person does not buy oils, does not have them sitting in their cupboards, then it’s quite simple to cook without them. Not impossible at all.” Barb

          I agree. Cooking with oil is just another one of those ‘culturally brainwashed’ attitudes. I too was shocked when I first heard of the concept. Thought the person ridiculous, even absurd. But as I got into the ‘science’ behind it, it all made perfect medical sense.

          I like to say…’there are two kinds of foods on the planet, the kind that builds arterial plaque…and the kind that don’t. Which ones do you want to consume…?’

          Quite simply, oil builds arterial plaque. So what’s there to think about?.

        2. I agree with you completely, Barb. I guess I’m not quite ready to go the way of absolutely no refined oils. But I do tend to think it’s the best way to go.

        3. Barb,

          Yes, it is easy cooking without oil.

          I still haven’t figured out what to do with the half full bottle of oil in the cabinet.

          I have to invite people over and pawn it off as left overs.

      3. Hi Skip:

        I know how hard it can be to make the no oil transition. However, great news, you CAN easily eliminate ALL oil from your diet – check out the 20+ free video recipes on our web-site . Also, Dr.
        Greger has an EXCELLENT cook book “The How Not To Die Cook Book”
        for more recipes than you can possibly imagine of stunningly delicious oil free plant based meals.

        1. Hello Prompt-52fc2078d7e240ef250c3138e0b7a248,

          Thanks but while we use almost no processed oil, we do like certain cuisine/recipes that need just a bit. I really believe that this ‘NO OIL’ thing is an extreme reaction to overuse of oil. Dr Esselstyn has made it his mission but and for serious heart disease, fine; BUT for most this is just an over reaction and often just gives another reason for people to Not adopt a WFPB Lifestyle.

          Blessings, Good Health & Longevity,

      4. ‘You CANNOT ELIMINATE Oil from your diet ….. you just cannot totally eliminate it when you are cooking; just impossible.’

        Sorry but this simply isn’t true. Oil isn’t necessary for boiling, steaming, poaching or water sauteeing. Also, oil is only produced as a result of processing. Calling the fats in avocados or nuts etc ‘oil’ is just playing with words.

        It’s perfectly possible to remove oil from our diet. What is impossible is removing fat from our diet. Your comment confuses the two.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptF0KuF8xHU

    2. Hello Prompt-987937ff63b3a37fd638f33faf372d82,

      Processed Food & Oil – A Final Comment The discussion on ‘Oil’ will go on and on and Never be settled. It is such a MINOR issue in the over-all scheme of things when it comes to WFPB and Health/Wellness.
      Technically ALL food we consume is ‘processed’. We process it when we pick an apple from a tree, mash it into apple sauce etc. We eat condiments like mustard, few eat raw mustard seeds and they don’t do it for a good veggie burger which is processed. Slice a tomato is processing, CHEWING IS PROCESSING. We ALL eat/consume some level of ‘processed foods’. Just don’t obsess about it; keep it as simple and as close to the Whole Plant Food as possible, limit the ‘additives’ if any. You just can’t go crazy about this stuff but just do the best you can. We ALL will slip/slide a bit on a scale BUT if the scale is Strictly ALL PLANT BASED we should do pretty darn well; at least in MHO.

      Blessings, Good Health & Longevity,

  9. I would like to know about “ brain metastasis” in relation to prostate cancer and treatment. My father’s prostate cancer was diagnosed via PSA levels test. It was 9 years ago. It was determined that the best way to treat was to remove his testicles ( source of testosterone).

    Immediately after his surgery, he was once given a hormone, and then immediately had seizures. He was taken off the drug, but the seizures continued intermittently, but frequent enough that we assumed that they led to his dementia. A urologist recently told me that the cancer could have already been working up in the brain simultaneously. He has seen this in a number of cases.

  10. Most men are simply unaware of the power of WFPB nutrition, and I believe THAT is the main issue in not getting ANYONE to move in this direction. I am 60 years old, diagnosed 8 years ago. Had an RP that year and have endured 2 rounds of radiation, 2 rounds of hormone therapy, and a round of Zytigia. Eight years later, still battling PC and I am one of the 16% because since my diagnosis I have eaten a WFPB diet. My erectile function is as good as it was in my 30’s and I feel better than I have in my whole life! The diet will make you happier and put you in a better mood as well.

    Please feel free to contact me. We have an excellent program to help you transition. The food is better than the standard American diet! I know because I ate the SAD diet for 52 years and ended up with PC.

    1. Bruce,

      You may be right. They don’t know is part of it. They don’t believe in “magic” is part of it. That is a sentence that I have regularly been made fun of with by people like my father.

      I had the vet come today and my dog is still alive and he moved the prognosis to “He still looks great, but you need to understand that, it is an outlier, but they can live for a year.” So every single visit, my dog is disqualified from bragging rights. We are getting close to the year, but he permanently disqualified dietary changes as being any part of it and has decided that the little red emergency pills with Yunnan Baiyoa stopped him from bleeding out and now it is just that the cancer is progressing more slowly. He still doesn’t want to do scans because if my dog is transported, he could die and he is doing so well, why take that risk. I agreed, but mostly because the visit was already $1000 and I already know that he disqualified all of the things I did and held onto the medical model and statistical outliers as what has happened. I am not as disappointed as I was the last 6 times he did that. He is true blue medical model and can’t think like I do. N of 1 proves nothing and that I will agree with him about.

      My hypothesis is that males have different societal pressures, which WFPB hasn’t figured out how to understand. I say that because of my success-oriented Sister-in-law and she is trying to fit into a successful culture and they talk a certain way and eat a certain way and drive certain cars and my father is doing the same process and both of them, who are from that culture slammed me more than anybody and my sister-in-law kept slamming me, while my brother who is blue collar ate whatever WFPB meal I gave to him while my sister-in-law protested.

      1. I do think that there are continuums.

        My brother is a blue collar, good guy, who always did what he was told. Both of my brothers are that. There isn’t machismo in the shop, nor in most of the small businesses around me, except for leadership people, like my father. There aren’t pin-up calendars or other pressures toward sex or drugs or alcohol, but there are subtle pressures, which people just do seem to obey, except for people like me and I am an outlier.

        I say it because “macho” is seen as “blue collar” and there ARE “blue collar” communities, which are “macho” oriented, but not in my town. Everything was family-business-oriented. “& Son” is on a lot of vehicles and there are a few “& Daughter” companies.

        Anyway, these businesses have a different culture with different pressures than the church communities I have been a part of and the Hollywood and college communities I have been a part of have had the opposite pressures and invisible rules.

        I have always been an outlier, I think, and I think it only causes problems with the “professional” people who are “modern professional” versus the small businesses where mostly we can still do hand-shakes.

        I don’t know if this will add to anybody’s understanding. I think we look down on different groups, rather than trying to understand them.

        WNPR had a segment that White Working Class males are happy with what Trump is doing because to them it is about earning a living. That is because they struggle so hard to earn a living. WNPR got it right. I am not trying to make a political statement. I have friends in Hollywood who would be trying to pummel me for saying that and their priorities are different partly because they are earning a good living.

        Anyway, I do try to understand each perspective and find that it helps.

  11. “… so when you core it out with a radical prostatectomy, you lose about an inch off your penis…” wow! that’s scary! for me, if u really love ur wife very much, u would change ur diet for her sake as well as yours. & not just for intimacy, but so stick around for her. she needs u.

  12. Any woman who has tried to change a man’s behavior towards women could tell you that some, indeed most, men are unteachable.

    With regard to erectile dysfunction, I suggest that prostate doctors should show their patients Joel Kahn’s humorous response to all the silly young you-tube vegans who are now eating meat. You can find it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K8CVnPWQ8M and I hope you laugh as hard as I did.

    1. The International Classification of Diseases, published by the WHO (IARC 2017), uses the code PC61 for prostate cancer. A review published last year used data from 172 countries and found:

      ‘Worldwide, total meat intake was strongly and positively associated with PC61 incidence in Pearson’s r (r= 0.595, p<0.001) and Spearman rho (r= 0.637, p<0.001) analyses. This relationship remained significant in partial correlation (r= 0.295, p<0.001) when ageing, GDP, Is, obesity prevalence and urbanization were kept statistically constant. GDP was weakly and insignificantly associated with PC61 when total meat intake was kept statistically constant. Stepwise multiple linear regression identified that total meat was a significant predictor of PC61 with total meat intake and all the five confounders included as the independent variables (R2=0.417). Post hoc Scheffe tests revealed nine significant mean differences of PC61 between the six WHO regions, but all disappeared when the contributing effect of total meat on PC61 incidence rate was removed. GDP was not identified as the statistically significant predictor of PC61 in either of the models including or excluding total meat as the independent variable.'
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6171413/

  13. Turns out that the month I decided to go salt-oil-sugar (SOS) free, whole-food (WF) vegan, I was referred to the tender mercies of a urologist to get a biopsy which thankfully came back negative. A year later, the suspicious mass that got me in trouble was gonna and my PSA levels dropped through the floor. I ascribe my entire reversal to eating a SOS-free, WF vegan diet and have had no indications of prostate cancer for five years now. In accord with Dr Greger’s findings, I’ve put two-three tablespoons of freshly ground flax seed on my daily oatmeal. I’m also off of four of the six medications I was on following my massive heart attack with only 81 mg of aspirin and a minimal dose of a beta blocker due to the extent of the damage to my heart during the heart attack.

    Being an engineer, I researched the hell out of prostate cancer and the prospective treatments as well as the side-effects of the treatments and the biopsy. While I appear to have dodged a bullet as far as prostate cancer goes, I did come away with nerve damage which causes pain down my led during orgasms. Mrs Rhineau’s libido evaporated during menopause so it hasn’t been a big issue sadly, but I’m ticked that the urologist didn’t say word-one about the possibility of nerve damage. I discovered the possibility through my research and went ahead with the biopsy as part of a risk-benefit analysis, but it would’ve been nice if the doctor had bothered to foster informed consent.

    At my church, we have a program where a member acts as Top Chef and prepares a soup to desert meal for 80-100 people. For a year-and-a-half, I cooked SOS-free, WF vegan dishes from Greece, North Africa, the Andes, and vegan Cajun/soul food well enough some people came back for thirds and many told me that my food was tastier and lighter than the vegan restaurants in Los Angeles. Sadly, the men and women who revel in bacon, cheese and flesh continue eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) and continue to gain weight, have knees replaced and continue taking their statins, ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers. They know there’s a viable alternative because they’ve eaten it, but it’s hard to kick bacon, burgers, pizza, ribs and ice cream. I know because I did it but I’ve have never regretted a day of better health since and being cancer free

  14. I love hearing all of these uplifting stories. It gives me great hope and motivation for the dietary changes that I am trying to make.

  15. Many times, it is mentioned to use oil to absorb nutrients. For example, little oil makes curcumin from turmeric absorbed bypassing the liver. Also, it is mentioned 30 minutes more cooked tomatoes with oil makes lycopene absorbed to reduce prostate cancer.

    I am sure it is better to avoid deep fried but using little oil always needed for Indian dishes to fry onions etc. But it is good to reduce the amount as much as possible.

    1. We cook Indian dishes almost daily, with no oil. None. Dr greger has said in past videos that half walnut in your salad is all you need to absorb those nutrients. There is enough fats in the foods we eat without using oil.

  16. Thank you Dr. Greger for all the advice. Many years ago I read Nathan Pritikin’s book and then showed it to my stepfather, who had suffered a heart attack. The poor fellow refused to read the book. He died at the age of 63 after his third heart attack. It was difficult to convince others about the benefits of a plant based diet but I “mostly” stayed with the diet. However, seven years ago I was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer. One of the biggest contributing factors for my cancer was exposure to Agent Orange resulting from my time in Vietnam. I sought out one the very best medical doctors for treatment. This doctor had data showing that prostate removal was the worst thing you could do since there could be outlier cancer cells that would then spread. Due to diet my treatment results were very successful and my doctor was amazed and claimed that I should become his “poster boy”.

    1. Tom Kauppila, I never tire of reading wonderful success stories like yours! It’s so frustrating when loved ones refuse to give lifestyle changes a try… but wonderful that you had the wisdom at the time to apply the Pritikin principles (I enjoy listening to recorded talks of Nathan Pritikin posted at Dr McDougall’s website) Best wishes to you, and thank you for sharing your story.

      1. But Barb he said he “mostly” stayed with the diet while you are a die-hard who makes no allowances at all. I don’t criticize you but I find your intractable attitude astonishing. Can there ever be a more lenient approach?

        1. Well Lida, I can’t speak for others, but the way I see it, there are a couple of things at play here. One is that imo, there is a whole lot more food addiction in our society than we care to admit. Hence the selfish behaviors we see in partners refusing to support the other in health goals (that would be mutually beneficial). With any kind of addiction it can be foolhardy to mess with ‘exceptions’. wfpb isn’t easy, but it gets easier with time for sure, and with a great repertoire of dishes to choose from.

          The other thing I see is that many have not looked their own death in the eye… so they dibble, dabble, or outright refuse to try something that will cause them discomfort in the short term. For me, there might be some things that are worse than death. Doing without cake or animal corpse laying across my plate is not among them. Shopping for ‘Depends’ might be however, and if I was a guy I would sure as heck get with the program, post haste.

            1. You know Lida, as far as diet is concerned, I’m don’t think of myself as strong, or determined, except maybe where weight is concerned. Our house has a lot in common with Dr J’s. We were eating well all along pretty much, and were cognizant of what makes a healthy meal but Dr Greger and NF has helped enormously in making us aware of how we can really fine tune what we eat.

              What makes it easy is that we really enjoy the food we make. If I was to offer anyone advice in getting started it would be to spend the time in finding/developing recipes that you like. And to keep on discovering and creating. We would have a difficult time in sticking with the plan if we didn’t love what we eat.

              And Lida, I agree with you totally that the stories the men are sharing today are tremendous testimonies … very positive, very encouraging. Thank you all

  17. Here are my PSA scores which started with a referral to my urologist. At that time I started a plant based diet (cold turkey, no pun intended) coupled with 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily. I was thinking I was headed for the biopsy/surgery route, but diet and exercise seems to have turned things around. I am hoping my urologist will kick me out of his practice this fall.

    August 2015: 4.2

    February 2016: 5.0

    October 2016: 5.5

    February 2017: 6.1

    October 2017: 5.1

    March 2018 5.5

    May 2018 3.92

    Strangely, neither my regular physician nor my urologist encouraged or seem interested in my plant based eating. However, the nurses and PA’s are very much interested. Especially the drop in cholesterol that naturally comes with plant based eating.

    1. Dennis,
      Wow, that’s impressive. Thanks for posting your results. So far mine have not come down but they are more or less stable since switching to WPFB. I only take 2 TBL ground flaxseed per day. But I eat virtually no processed foods and almost no oil (but I do eat a lot of nuts/seeds). I am wondering if there is anything else in particular you have been doing that you think might help.

      1. “….almost no oil”
        – – – —

        Can you define your “almost”? A few drops? A half teaspoon?

        As I’ve posted (too many) before, I drizzle a few drops on my one slice of Ezekiel toast and a coupla squirts on my evening raw salad.

        1. These days I often use 1 tsp (40 calories) EVOO on my salads. I do not cook with it or other oils. However, I am not a low fat vegan b/c I eat lots of nuts/seeds everyday.

      2. No other interventions other than plant based diet and exercise 4/5 days a week. I am not a “no oil” kind of person, and have total cholesterol of 130. My family is supportive and have changed their own eating choices. Every meal is a choice. I do not see a return to meat, dairy or eggs. Why would I?

        1. Sounds similar to me although the only oil I get at home is a very small amount of EVOO on salads but I do get lots of fat daily from nuts/seeds (around 25-30 % of calories). My cholesterol also dropped from mid 160s to 135 on my current WFPB diet last check; same has had a similar experience. Like magic.

  18. Dennis,
    What was your cholesterol before wfpb and how long
    did it take to get down to 130?
    I am hoping to lower mine but it doesn’t seem to budge.

    Thanka!

    1. Cholesterol was 200 (total) and dropped down within a year to 130. LDL is at 62. I am not a no oil person, but I do see how going that route would get a person to under 100, total.

      1. Dennis,

        Great job!

        The doctors not finding it interesting is going to change some decade. That is my trickle up theory.

        Changes like those take time.

      2. Just to add another data point. When I was an ovo-pesco-vegetarian who used oil in cooking, my cholesterol was in the 160-180 range but LDL stayed a little over 100. Very soon after giving up all animal products and getting almost all my fats from nuts/seeds, my TC dropped to 135 and LDL to around 80.

        My brother had the same experience and the drop happened rapidly. I have read that women tend to have higher TC than men. My wife is a case on point. On the same diet her TV dropped a little below 200; her LDL has remained above 100 but her HDL is much higher than mine.

        1. Thank you for making that observation because that is exactly the position that I am in where my total cholesterol remains too high my LDL is too high but my HDL is surprisingly very high

  19. I ended up watching The Central Park Five tonight and was thinking about the whole DNA thing. The five teenagers were deprived sleep for 24-hours and finally all made up stories implicating themselves in the rape and beating of a jogger in Central Park as led by the police investigators.

    The police and prosecutors knew that none of the boys matched the DNA onhand and if they had checked, it did match the DNA of a Serial rapist who was arrested during that time period, but they never checked and the boys spent years incarcerated.

    Witch Hunt by Sean Penn 25 people spent years in prison for crimes they never committed. I have seen so many documentaries and news stories of innocent people spending sometimes decades in prison.

    It is one thing I would like the DNA genealogy testing used for. To get them out. My friend works with an innocence project. I don’t think it is the official Innocence Project, but she helps prisoners get heard.

    Anyway, while I was watching, I thought about this whole male image thing and I already know that the real answer is so complicated.

    I feel like the males need to be heard and that somehow there is a peer pressure method that everybody uses from every side. I think Dr. Ornish understands it better than most.

    We judge people and don’t know that we even are judging them and then when the outcome is bad for them, we don’t care as much as we should.

  20. My husband religiously adhered to the plant based diet, but still had to have prostate surgery and a week later open heart surgery. Our doctors said it had more to do with heredity. He continues on the plant based diet.

      1. ‘When prostate cancer is related to inherited gene changes, the way that cancer risk is inherited depends on the gene involved. For example, mutations in the BRCA1, BRCA2, and HOXB13 genes are inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, which means one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to increase a person’s chance of developing cancer. In other cases, the inheritance of prostate cancer risk is unclear. It is important to note that people inherit an increased risk of cancer, not the disease itself. Not all people who inherit mutations in these genes will develop cancer.’
        https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/prostate-cancer#inheritance

  21. Dr Greger, I think you should have included the effects of hormone therapy on cancer patients. I had radical prostatectomy in May 2017 at age 74, a genomic test revealed that I had an aggressive cancer and my surgeon said I would need radiation and hormone treatments. I had both, I was OK after the radiation but two hormone shots devastated me. I was not properly informed that the hormone (medical castration) was permanent and that I would suffer from a total lack of testosterone the rest of my life had I known this I would have never had hormone shots.

  22. I had no real problem switching to a nearly total vegan diet after I developed prostate issues. As for those guys who think that plant based diets are for women and sissies, I’ll let them tell that to Mike Tyson, all Shaolin Kung Fu masters, numerous NFL and NBA stars and the majority of Iron Man competition winners who are vegan or vegetarian.

  23. Thank you all for your stories and comments. I don’t comment often but felt the need to this time. I have been on and off WFPB for a year now and just recently decided to do it no matter what! I’ve had headaches 24/7 for 20 years and am waiting for them to disappear soon. I’m on day 5 of no meat, dairy, eggs, fat or processed foods. Reading everyone’s comments really helps me and my determination.

  24. Can anyone point me to a recipe for that pictured burger? I know it must be plant based but Tineye can’t find it and Google identifies it as fast food. I’d like to give it a try.

    1. Yeah ED, you’d think the fact that a lot of not so wimpy animals are plant-based eaters would have more impact on those who tend to think of veganism as unmanly.

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