The MEAL Study: Understanding the Link Between Diet and Prostate Cancer

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 2:53pm
Senior Vice President for Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, RPCI

Several years ago, my colleagues and I wondered about the impact of dietary practice and its role in prostate cancer. We wanted to further examine the potential link between nutritional intake and this disease. With that in mind, the Men’s Eating and Living (MEAL) Study was created. This clinical trial is designed to help us understand the role of men’s diets and how they may relate to prostate cancer.

There is evidence-backed belief that a plant-heavy diet (e.g., vegetables, fruits, nuts) assists in fighting off prostate cancer, while a diet that subsists mainly of animal products (e.g., meat, dairy) increases one’s risk. These latter food products may also worsen the disease. With that in mind, we will study whether a change in men’s diets plays a role in fighting prostate cancer.

Participants in the study will either be randomly placed in a dietary change program, or they will simply receive information on dietary practices and cancer. If a participant is assigned to dietary change intervention, he will work with a nutritionist who will help him change his diet over the course of two years. We will examine whether this change in dietary practices has any effect on individual progression of prostate cancer. We will also study whether a change in diet will help existing prostate cancer progress at a slower rate, as opposed to the men who were not placed in the intervention.

Additionally, we are interested in helping men who have low-grade, low-volume prostate cancer. There are some who believe that radiation and surgery are needed for men who have this type of disease, while others believe that such radical intervention is not necessary. This unique study will help us better understand the accuracy of both schools of thought.

Please watch the attached video to learn more about the MEAL Study, including its eligibility requirements and how to get involved.