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Can Prostate Cancer Be Prevented With a Healthy Diet?

A plate of foods in healthy portions.
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A study published in BJU International found that adhering to healthy diets seems to have no effect on prostate cancer risk, but following an unhealthy diet might increase the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer.

The study assessed the diets of 15,296 men recruited in Spain in from 1992–1996. Among these men, 609 prostate cancer cases were identified during a median follow-up of 17 years. Diets were categorized as Western, Prudent, or Mediterranean. The Western dietary pattern consisted of a high intake of high-fat dairy products, processed meat, refined grains, sweets, caloric drinks, convenience food, and sauces, and a low intake of low-fat dairy products and whole grains. The Prudent dietary pattern was characterized by a high intake of low-fat dairy products, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and juices. The Mediterranean dietary pattern represented a high intake of fish, vegetables, legumes, boiled potatoes, fruits, olives, and vegetable oil, and a low intake of juices.

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No effect over prostate cancer risk was detected for the Prudent and Mediterranean dietary patterns, but detrimental effect was observed with the Western dietary pattern. This effect was only observed for aggressive tumors.

“Our results indicate that avoiding unhealthy dietary habits could be the best nutritional strategy to prevent aggressive prostate cancer,” said lead author Adela Castelló-Pastor, PhD, of the Carlos III Institute of Health and CIBERESP, in Spain. “Substituting the intake of Western-type diet products by products characteristic of the Mediterranean diet could also decrease the risk of other chronic diseases,” added co–senior author Marina Pollán, PhD, of the Carlos III Institute of Health and CIBERESP, in Spain.

“The information provided by the Spanish cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition—or EPIC—has contributed to improving scientific knowledge of the relationship between diet and cancer and other chronic diseases,” added co–senior author Maria-José Sánchez, MD, PhD, lecturer at the Andalusian School of Public Health, scientific director at ibs.GRANADA and researcher at CIBERESP, in Spain.

Reference: Castelló A, Rodríguez-Barranco M, Pérez-Gómez B, et al. High adherence to Western dietary pattern and prostate cancer risk: findings from the EPIC-Spain cohort. BJU International. 2023. doi: 10.1111/bju.16001

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