It's not every day that you hear a medical doctor suggest that lifestyle changes can be a form of treatment that can reverse -- not just help prevent -- many of the most common and costly chronic diseases, including heart disease, prostate cancer and Type 2 diabetes. But that is exactly the message -- hard-earned through 35 years of scientific research -- that Dean Ornish, M.D., best-selling author and HuffPost's medical editor, communicated in his recent keynote address at the Integrative Healthcare Symposium in New York. If the numerous standing ovations were any indication, it was also a message that resonated with the attendees, which included conference speaker (and HuffPost blogger) Dr. Mark Hyman. "Seventy five percent of the $2.7 trillion in health care costs, which are really 'sick care' costs, are from chronic diseases that can be largely prevented, or even reversed, through simply changing diet and lifestyle," Ornish told HuffPost in an interview after his address. According to the doctor, prostate cancer is one clear example: Since most prostate cancers are slow-growing, most men are more likely to die with prostate cancer than from it, he said. Because of this, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended against screening for the disease because men who are found to have prostate cancer have so much pressure to "cut it out before it spreads" even though recent studies in the New England Journal of Medicine have shown that only 1 of 49 men who are treated for prostate cancer live longer, yet the treatments leave many men impotent, incontinent, or both. "There's a third alternative between doing nothing and undergoing treatments like prostate surgery that don't prolong life and have these terrible side-effects, and that's to support people in changing their lifestyle," he said. "It's an aggressive, non-surgical, non-pharmacological intervention, not just 'watchful waiting.'" "My colleagues and I at the...
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