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Lifestyle Management

Regardless of the treatment you and your partner decide on, you will want to work together to ensure the best possible outcome — in both the short and long term. The tips on these pages can help you create a healthy environment at home, at work and at play. The healthy changes you make now are not just for your partner’s benefit, but for your whole family’s as well!

The Big Three Checklist

If your partner can check off all three items below, he’s well on his way to having a solid foundation for the best possible outcome, regardless of which treatment he chooses.

  • I don’t smoke
  • I am at a healthy weight
  • I am in good physical condition overall

If he can’t check off all the boxes, you can help by encouraging his efforts to quit smoking and ensuring your household supports a healthy food and exercise regimen.

Nutrition

Nutrition and Prostate CancerMany large-scale studies are currently underway to determine what role nutrition has in preventing or slowing the spread of prostate cancer. While more information will be available over the next decade as the results of the studies are published, you can start right now by making healthy choices in your household.

The top three for prostate cancer:

  • Red MeatReduce or eliminate saturated fat (fats from animal sources) from the diet. There is already good evidence linking animal-fat intake with prostate cancer and rates of spread.
  • Eat more lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomatoes. Processed tomatoes–in the form of sauce, for example–provide more lycopene than fresh tomatoes.
  • Even though supplements are important, it’s best to maintain only the healthy heart diet during treatment and to limit the consumption of antioxidants during radiation, brachytherapy and chemotherapy treatments. Some recommendations are:
    • Prior to surgery: stop all supplements ten to fourteen days prior to surgery especially as vitamin E and Omega 3 act as blood thinners and may increase bleeding during the procedure.
    • Radiation: supplements should be stopped six to seven weeks during treatments.
    • Brachytherapy: all supplements should be stopped for approximately nine months after treatment because this is how long it takes for palladium and iodine to lose their radioactivity.
    • Chemotherapy: supplements should not be taken during the course of treatment, as they may interfere with the mechanism of action for the chemo medication.

Consult with your doctor before your treatments about any supplements or antioxidants you may be taking.

More to try — for everyone in the family:

  • I Get your recommended daily allowance of antioxidant vitamins: A, C, D, E.
  • Add some soy products to your weekly menu.
  • Eliminate low glycemic foods (refined carbohydrates such as sugar and any products containing sugar, non-whole grains, alcohol).
  • Drink green tea, which contains catechins. Catchins may be beneficial to many types of cancer, not just prostate cancer.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Complications from obesity are numerous.

Prostate Cancer and Lifestyle ManagementPhysical Activity

Every day we read that regular physical activity has significant health benefits for people of all ages and at all levels of wellness. Is this true for prostate cancer too? A 2004 study* that looked at numerous studies done on the relationship between prostate cancer risk and a person’s level of exercise found overall that physical exercise does indeed provide a protective effect against prostate cancer—and may also benefit men who
are undergoing treatment for the disease.

According to the authors, this effect may be due to moderated hormone levels, healthier body weight, enhanced immune function and reduced oxidative stress. Since these are issues that affect everyone, it’s safe to say that household members should be doing regular physical activity.

If you’ve got a house full of couch potatoes, it might be up to you to be both the cheerleader and activity role model. This can motivate everyone to get moving, which will not only reduce the risk of health problems, it will likely give encouragement
and support to your partner as he faces the challenge of his changing body.

young couple drinking coffee in open-air cafeExercise During And After Treatment

If your partner is undergoing radiation treatment or has had a prostatectomy (surgery), exercise and work-related physical
activity may be restricted for a time. You can help him by modifying the activities you normally do together, encouraging him to keep at it, watching out for signs he might be overdoing it and taking over temporarily while he recovers.

Here’s a quick rundown of general recommendations on the most common treatments and exercise/physical activities:

Watchful waiting/active surveillance:

Continue your exercise program as usual.

Following surgery:

A recovery period is usually recommended before your partner returns to work. Between two and four weeks after his surgery, he can begin building up the amount of exercise he does. If he has a job that requires physical activity, he will likely have to reduce his workload once he’s back on the job and then gradually increase back to pre-surgery levels. For exercise he should start slow and pay attention to how he feels. If he didn’t do much before the surgery, this is a good time for him to ease gently into a new, healthier routine.

Prostate Cancer and ExerciseDuring external beam radiation therapy:

Your partner can exercise or work as usual unless he becomes overtired or is bothered by side effects of the treatment.

During brachytherapy:

A few days after the procedure, your partner can begin to exercise–but very gently at first. However, bicycling or any other activities that put pressure on the scrotum should be completely avoided for one to two months.

 

Five tips for getting everyone off the couch

  1. Limit TV-viewing time for everyone in the family.
  2. If your clan likes video games, make sure they spend most of their time playing the movement-oriented ones. Join in!
  3. As a couple, take a 20-30-minute walk after dinner every evening. The dishes can wait.
  4. With the whole family, plan an outing each week that includes exercise that everyone will enjoy. Try skating, walking, playing soccer, hitting balls at the driving range -- or ask your kids or grandkids what they’d like to do.
  5. Find an activity you love so you’ll stick with it.

Kegel exercises -- Not just for women!

For decades women have been encouraged by their doctors to do Kegel exercises to keep pelvic muscles strong to reduce those embarrassing moments of "leakage." Did you know that men who have elected to have surgery for prostate cancer can benefit from them too? Bet you never thought you and your partner could do this activity together!

"I came to all the appointments with my husband’s doctors and asked questions. It helped because he did not always catch everything that the doctor had to say, as he was nervous and processing a lot of information."