OCT 24, 2019 10:23 PM PDT

Diet and prostate cancer

It is difficult to pinpoint a specific diet to its benefits or detriments, largely because so many other factors often go along with diet. For example, it can be tedious to document one’s diet, particularly as one’s consumption may change on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Isolating the impact of diet can also be challenging because people who eat healthier often tend to exercise more, which in itself is typically beneficial. However, due to anecdotal evidence that diet has significant impacts on cancer and other disease, scientists from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, recently conducted an extensive literature review to look closer at the links between prostate cancer and diet. Their research was published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately 11.6% of men in the US will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis at some point during their lifetime. That’s equivalent to roughly 174,650 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States in 2019. While it has been a challenge to establish a connection between diet and risk of prostate cancer, the researchers’ findings conclude that there may be an association between plant-based diets and a decreased risk of prostate cancer, as well as between dairy consumption and increased risk.

In their review, the researchers looked at all relevant studies from between the years 2006 and 2017 – 47 in total, encompassing over one million participants. They write: “Most studies showed that plant-based foods are associated with either decreased or unchanged risk of [prostate cancer], whereas animal-based foods, particularly dairy products, are associated with either increased or unchanged risk of [prostate cancer]." They didn’t find any changes in prostate cancer risk in studies that assessed red meat, white meat, processed meat, or fish intake.

New research finds an association between dairy consumption and increased risk of prostate cancer. Photo: Pixabay

"Our review highlighted a cause for concern with high consumption of dairy products. The findings also support a growing body of evidence on the potential benefits of plant-based diets," stated lead author Dr. John Shin. Nevertheless, the authors are quick to say that their findings are associations at best, and do not show causation.

The authors say that while their findings merit more investigation, the study also highlights that one of the "biggest obstacles in the field of dietary research is the lack of standardized methods for capturing and reporting diet and lifestyle data." For example, when individuals are required to document their diets, human error levels are extremely high. The fact that prostate cancer usually appears in older men also makes it difficult to know how diet has an impact on long-term health. Nevertheless, they hope that this subject will continue to receive a spotlight in the medical field, especially as we continue to strive to comprehend the effects of diet on general health.

Sources: Medical News Today, The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JAN 02, 2020
Cancer
JAN 02, 2020
The new "tumor-on-a-chip"
In order to mimic the microenvironment of a tumor in the human body, researchers from Kyoto University have developed a device that they are describing as ...
JAN 11, 2020
Cancer
JAN 11, 2020
Should we be concerned about talc powder and ovarian cancer?
After the outcry against baby powder and concerns regarding its link to ovarian cancer, still, no investigations have clearly linked the product to the dis...
FEB 02, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
FEB 02, 2020
New T Cell Therapy is a Universal Approach to Target Cancer
For years, researchers have been trying to harness the power of the assassins of the immune system - killer T cells....
FEB 12, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
FEB 12, 2020
Vapers Have Epigenetic Alterations Like Those Seen in Smokers
The activity of genes can be altered with chemical tags that get added to the genome, so-called epigenetic modifications....
FEB 21, 2020
Cancer
FEB 21, 2020
Understanding cancer heterogeneity
A team of researchers from Cornell has taken an innovative approach to crack the diversity code of cancer cells. Using a statistical modeling technique mor...
MAR 09, 2020
Cancer
MAR 09, 2020
The down-low on IUDs and cervical cancer
A recent study from Columbia University Irving Medical Center reviewed the risk of cervical cancer among women using intrauterine devices (IUDs) as a contr...
Loading Comments...