The link between cancer and diet has been extensively studied, It is known for example that being overweight is related to as many as one in five cancer-related deaths. Weight is most closely connected with cancers of the breast and uterus in postmenopausal women. Other cancers associated with obesity include:
- Colon and rectum
But less is known about the association between diet and prostate cancer. The three well-established risk factors for prostate cancer: are race (specifically, African American race), family history, and age. Unfortunately, these are three things we cannot change. So given this reality, there is much interest in identifying modifiable risk factors for prostate cancer, not least among the roughly 2.5 million men in the United States currently live with prostate cancer.
Now, a new study might provide some hope. It showed that replacing carbohydrates and animal fat with vegetable fat may be associated with a lower risk of death in men with non-metastatic prostate cancer.
Erin Richman, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues at UCSF examined fat intake after a diagnosis of prostate cancer in relation to lethal prostate cancer and all-cause mortality in 4,577 men diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer. Their findings have just been published in Online First by JAMA Internal Medicine.
Between 1986 and 2010, the researchers noted 315 lethal prostate cancer events and 1,064 deaths during a median follow-up of 8.4 years. They also discovered that replacing 10% of calories from carbohydrates with vegetable fat, such as oil or nuts, was associated with a 29% lower risk of lethal prostate cancer and a 26% lower risk of death from all-cause mortality.
Overall, the findings suggest that men with prostate cancer should be advised to follow a heart-healthy diet in which carbohydrate calories are replaced with unsaturated oils and nuts to reduce the risk of all-cause mortality.
And although the exact reason for the reduction in mortality is unknown, the authors conclude; “the potential benefit of vegetable fat consumption for prostate cancer-specific outcomes merits further research.”
SRxA’s Word on Health agrees.