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
AUG 07, 2020
Cancer
Immune-Related Genes as Prognostic Biomarkers
AUG 07, 2020
Immune-Related Genes as Prognostic Biomarkers
Cancer is one of the most persistent and hardy diseases. Cancers often develop the ability to suppress the immune system ...
AUG 12, 2020
Cancer
Comparing Nivolumab and Pembrolizumab in the Treatment of Lung Cancer
AUG 12, 2020
Comparing Nivolumab and Pembrolizumab in the Treatment of Lung Cancer
Since the 1940s, chemotherapy has been a primary treatment option for cancer. The late 20th century brought a new type o ...
AUG 10, 2020
Cancer
What fireflies' bioluminescence can teach us about mitochondria and cancer
AUG 10, 2020
What fireflies' bioluminescence can teach us about mitochondria and cancer
Researchers have developed a technique to measure mitochondria activity in cells using a molecule from fireflies. The me ...
OCT 06, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Use May Reduce Cancer Risk by 10%
OCT 06, 2020
Cannabis Use May Reduce Cancer Risk by 10%
A recent meta-analysis of 34 studies found that cannabis use may decrease one’s risk of developing certain kinds o ...
OCT 13, 2020
Immunology
Early Tips For Cell & Gene Therapy Regulatory Compliance
OCT 13, 2020
Early Tips For Cell & Gene Therapy Regulatory Compliance
Cell and gene therapies hold great promise for improved health outcomes. Now is the time to advance life-saving research ...
OCT 20, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Non-coding RNA As A Barometer For Liver Health
OCT 20, 2020
Non-coding RNA As A Barometer For Liver Health
October is liver cancer awareness month — a month dedicated to educating people about the risk factors and prevent ...
Loading Comments...