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Understanding barriers and facilitators of dietary and lifestyle interventions to reduce side effects of treatment and improve outcomes in South Asian men with prostate cancer

   Bristol Medical School

About the Project

Prostate Cancer (PCa) is a leading cause of male mortality, with 336,000 deaths worldwide each year (1). Although most PCa cases are indolent, slow-growing, and tend not to progress, a subset of cases are aggressive and progress to metastases, treatment resistance and death. Aggressive cases are a major driver of PCa mortality, and in south Asian men lethal cases were more prevalent than for white men in a small UK study (2). Genetic risk factors for prostate cancer include age, family history and ethnicity with overall rates in Afro-Caribbeans being higher than in white or south Asian men. Evidence from UK routine data (1986-2004) suggests that this might be confounded by differential perceptions of risk amongst ethnic groups influencing prostate cancer testing and hence detection (3). South Asian men may also have dietary or other lifestyle factors that reduce their risk of prostate cancer compared with other ethnic groups, but this has not been explored in UK men. The optimal and acceptable dietary and lifestyle modifications for south Asian men following diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer is also unknown, with previous research focused on white or Afro-Caribbean men (4).

Aims and objectives

Given the lack of knowledge about south Asian men’s experience of prostate cancer, this project aims to improve these men’s experience and outcomes of prostate cancer treatment by:

  1. Understanding south Asian men’s views and experiences of prostate cancer and treatment
  2. Investigating recent patterns of prostate cancer detection and disease in south Asian men
  3. Assessing which diet and lifestyle options are acceptable and feasible for south Asian men treated for prostate cancer to help reduce side effects and improve outcomes.


This project will work with south Asian men in Bradford and Leicester building on established collaborations (see below). The research will include:

  1. A rapid scoping review of the current literature of dietary and lifestyle predictors of prostate cancer risk and treatment outcomes focusing on ethnic differences (skills developed in systematic reviewing)
  2. In-depth qualitative research (interviews and focus groups) with south Asian men with and without prostate cancer to understand their views and experiences of prostate cancer and attitudes towards dietary and lifestyle modification (skills in qualitative research and analysis)
  3. Comparison of rates of prostate cancer by ethnic groups and social deprivation using routine data (skills in routine data and epidemiology)

The student will receive a thorough training in health research methods through the supervisory team of Lane (prostate cancer and trials), Martin (prostate cancer epidemiology, screening), Wade (prostate cancer and men’s experiences, qualitative research) and Turner (prostate cancer, screening and routine data) and the PHS short course programme. The student will also develop skills in collaborative research with external partners (Bradford and Leicester - co-supervisor Brown), linking into The Centre for Ethnic Health Research at Leicester, obtaining ethical/research governance approvals and in Patient and Public Involvement.

Apply for this project

This project will be based in Bristol Medical School - Population Health Sciences.

Please contact for further details on how to apply.

Apply now!


1. Pernar CH, Ebot EM, et al. The Epidemiology of Prostate Cancer. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med TA - TT -. 2018;8(12):a030361.
2. Forster L, Jelly C et al. Prostate cancer in Asian populations: a case control study. J Clin Urology 2020: 14 3.
3. Maringe C, Li R, et al. Cancer survival differences between South Asians and non-South Asians of England in 1986-2004, accounting for age at diagnosis and deprivation. BJCancer 2015: 113; 173-181.
4. Er V, Lane JA, Martin RM, et al. Barriers and facilitators to health lifestyle and acceptability of a dietary and physical activity intervention among Afro-Caribbean prostate cancer survivors in the UK: qualitative study. doi:org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017217.

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