Studies reveal that 1 in 6 men are at a risk of prostate cancer and 1 in 30 men are at a risk of aggressive cancer of the prostate leading to death in the US. Even though there is enough evidence in support of genetic factors influencing increased risk of cancer in families, diet, and lifestyle too have been found to be significant contributors.
Diet and Lifestyle
A normal man in the US consumes a diet high in animal fats/meats with almost negligible portions of vegetables and fruits.
Several studies conducted to research the relation, confirm that prostate cancer risk is indeed associated with increased intake of red meats.
- Health Professionals Follow-up Study with over 50,000 participating men showed that increased fat intake, animal fat intake, and red meat consumption increased prostate cancer risk considerably.
- Physicians’ Health Study drew up relation between amount of red meat consumed and risk of cancer of the prostate.
When red meat is cooked at high temperatures, such as when grilled or broiled, carcinogens like heterocyclic aromatic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are formed. These carcinogens cause cancer. There is evidence that when heterocyclic amine carcinogen, 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazol [4.5-b] pyridine (PhIP) is fed to rats, it causes prostate cancer.
Protection from Prostate Cancer
Vegetables and fruits seem to confer a protective sheath and thereby reduce risk of prostate cancer.
- Lycopene – The Physicians’ Health Study shows a decreased prostate cancer risk with presence of high plasma levels of antioxidant carotenoids lycopene present in tomatoes. In a recently conducted clinical trial, men given pasta dishes containing tomato sauce for about 3 weeks prior to prostectomy, showed a reduction in PSA levels, decreased oxidative damage in prostate cells and increased levels of lycopene in prostate and blood.
- Vitamin E and Selenium – Antioxidants like vitamin E and selenium may also be instrumental in reducing prostate cancer risk. A clinical trial involving supplementing the same has been started to confirm their effects.
- Sulforaphane – Consumption of cruciferous vegetables that contain isothiocyanate sulforaphane has been found to be effective in reducing prostate cancer risk. The chemical induces production of carcinogen detoxifying enzymes in animal models. These enzymes prevent cell and genomic damage caused by carcinogens.
Recent research on risk of cancer conducted in 44,788 pairs of twins in Finland, Sweden, and Denmark show that over 42% of the cases of prostate cancer is due to inheritance while the rest is attributed to environmental factors like diet and lifestyle. Men need to be aware of this and instead of just blaming the genes, decide to eat a healthy diet and live a healthy life to keep their prostate healthy.
- Does Enlarged Prostate lead to or cause Prostate Cancer?
- 5 Tips for A Healthy Prostate
- Should You Be Taking 5-Alpha-Reductase Inhibitors For Prostate Cancer Prevention – Dr. Pazdur et al’s Study
- Diabetes may increase your risk for Cancer: Gabriel Lai of NCI reports on Diet and Health Study
- Prostate Cancer (Early/Late) Prognosis and Life Expectancy