Lifestyle Choices:

High-Fat Western Diet Could Worsen Risks of Prostate Cancer

Categories: Summer/Fall 2015
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A heart-healthy diet could help reduce the chances of dying from prostate cancer.

Anew study at Harvard University offered insight on how diet may help improve the chances of survival for the nearly three million U.S. men living with prostate cancer. The study found that men with prostate cancer who eat a high-fat “Western diet” may have a higher risk of prostate cancer related and overall mortality than men who eat a more heart-healthy diet.

Western diet vs. Prudent Diet

Researchers interviewed 926 men with non-metastatic prostate cancer about their dietary habits for a median of 5 years. Two dietary patterns emerged in the study: a “prudent diet” that included a high intake of vegetables, fruits, fish, legumes and whole grains; and a “Western diet” that included a higher intake of processed and red meats, high-fat dairy and refined grains used in processed foods.

The results

After an average of 10 years of follow-up, men who ate the Western diet were 2.5 times more likely to die from prostate cancer. These men also had a 67% greater risk of allcause mortality. Men who ate the more prudent diet had a 36% lower risk of dying from all causes.

“There is currently very little evidence to counsel men living with prostate cancer on how they can modify their lifestyle to improve survival. Our results suggest that a heart-healthy diet may benefit these men by specifically reducing their chances of dying of prostate cancer,” said Jorge Chavarro, assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study.

The study was published online in the journal Cancer Prevention Research on June 1, 2015.

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