Diet Can Cut Risk of Prostate Cancer

Do you believe that lycopene, which is found in certain foods such as cooked tomatoes, can help prevent prostate cancer? 

Dr. Roach says: Lycopene, a vitamin A-like substance found in tomatoes and watermelons, was indeed thought to help prevent prostate cancer. Unfortunately, further studies failed to support this.

What has been shown more substantially is that a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables helps reduce risk for and even helps treat prostate (and other) cancer. So it may be that lycopene by itself isn’t enough, but that all the different healthy substances found in fruits and vegetables are. This diet certainly reduces risk of heart disease as well.

About four years ago I bought a vibration machine. I’m a 64-year-old female with major back issues, but I can exercise on the vibration machine with no problems. In fact, when I went in for my last bone density check, my bone density had increased over 14 percent! My doctor said it was unbelievable.

Dr. Roach says: I understand that many retirement homes may have this machine. My ultimate wish would be that hotels would all put one in their exercise room! Ten minutes on the machine equals 4 miles of jogging. 

Vibration machines have been around for years, but the data supporting them is patchy. Some studies have found that they do not improve osteoporosis; others show a slight improvement. Many studies have shown an improvement in low back pain and in strength. The machines are generally safe, but they can cause injuries, especially in the elderly.

Although vibration machines can improve fitness, I don’t believe that 10 minutes on an exercise machine gives you all the benefits of 4 miles of jogging. Bone density levels show a lot of variation, so a single large increase doesn’t always mean a sustained gain.

I think it’s too early to recommend vibration therapy as a standard treatment for osteoporosis. It may have a role for people who are unable to do other kinds of exercises.

I have a white patch called vitiligo. My doctor is giving me Protopic, but I do not see much improvement. Can you advise me? I am afraid of this advancing. 

Dr. Roach says: Vitiligo is a loss of color in the skin. It can affect people of any skin color, and likely is due to the body’s destroying its own cells — in this case, the cells that make the pigment for the skin.

Vitiligo often progresses slowly. Tacrolimus (Protopic) is effective in about 90 percent of people treated for two months, according to one study. Steroid creams and ultraviolet light also are used. It may be worthwhile to look for other autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease.

By Keith Roach, M.D.

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