Five Steps to a Healthier Lifestyle After Prostate Cancer Treatment Ends

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Making healthier lifestyle choices can help improve your overall health and well-being. And some research suggests that men who follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly have better outcomes after prostate cancer treatment. If your lifestyle before your diagnosis and treatment wasn’t particularly healthy, you can look at this time as an opportunity to get on the right track.

In general, the recommendations for prostate cancer survivors are the same as for healthy men of the same age:

1. Maintain a healthy weight. A body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9 indicates overweight, and 30 or above indicates obesity.

2. Exercise. With your doctor’s approval, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, such as jogging or running. A combination of moderate and vigorous activity is also acceptable. Strength training twice a week is also advised.

3. Pay attention to nutrition. Make smart food choices. A healthful diet is one that is rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and low in saturated fats.

All men should be sure they’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D for good bone health.

Current guidelines recommend 1,200 mg of dietary calcium (food and supplements) and 600 to 800 IU of vitamin D per day. For men who are on or have been treated with hormone therapy, which increases the risk of osteoporosis, the recommended dose of vitamin D is often 800 to 1,000 IU daily.

Some men with severe bone mineral density loss benefit from the use of medications that can help restore bone health. If you’re having nutrition-related challenges—for example, bowel problems that might affect your body’s ability to absorb nutrients— your doctor should refer you to a registered dietitian, preferably one who is a certified specialist in oncology nutrition, if available.

4. Limit alcohol consumption. Experts recommend no more than two drinks per day or no more than one if you’re over 65. One drink is defined as 12 oz. of regular beer, 5 oz. of wine, or 1.5 oz. of distilled spirits.

5. Don’t smoke. Smoking after prostate cancer increases the risk of recurrence and second cancers.