Diet and Lifestyle in Prostate Cancer

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2019:1210:1-27. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-32656-2_1.


A variety of diet and lifestyle factors have been studied with respect to prostate cancer risk in large, prospective cohort studies. In spite of this work, and in contrast to other common cancers, few modifiable risk factors have been firmly established as playing a role in prostate cancer. There are several possible explanations for the lack of well-established risk factors. First, prostate cancer has among the highest heritability of all common cancers; second, early life exposures may play an important role in risk, rather than mid- and later-life exposures assessed in most epidemiological studies. Finally, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening plays a critical role in prostate cancer detection and incidence rates, which has important implications for epidemiological studies.Among modifiable risk factors, smoking and obesity are consistently associated with higher risk specifically of advanced prostate cancer. There is also considerable evidence for a positive association between dairy intake and overall prostate cancer risk, and an inverse association between cooked tomato/lycopene intake and risk of advanced disease. Several other dietary factors consistently associated with risk in observational studies, including selenium and vitamin E, have been cast into doubt by results from clinical trials. Results for other well-studied dietary factors, including fat intake, red meat, fish, vitamin D, soy and phytoestrogens are mixed.In practical terms, men concerned with prostate cancer risk should be encouraged to stop smoking, be as physically active as possible, and achieve or maintain a healthy weight. These recommendations also have the advantage of having a positive impact on risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases. Reducing dairy intake while increasing consumption of fish and tomato products is also reasonable advice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / complications
  • Risk Factors