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Processed Foods Can Cause Prostate Blues

Dietary Habits Linked to Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer (excluding skin cancers) in American men. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 230,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year, and that one in every six men will be diagnosed with the condition during their lifetime.

Previous research has established that fat intake is the most consistent dietary component associated with an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. However, other factors, such as the types, frequencies and quantities of foods consumed, also might contribute to the development of prostate cancer over time.

In a recent Canadian study, scientists explored the link between diet and prostate cancer in more than 400 men ages 50 to 80, using questionnaires that detailed the men's dietary habits in the previous two years. After reviewing the questionnaires, researchers categorized subjects into one of four dietary patterns: "healthy living" (high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and poultry); "traditional Western" (red meat, processed meats, sweets, and hard liquor), "processed" (processed meats, red meat, organ meats, refined grains, vegetable oils, and soft drinks); and "beverages" (high intake of tap water, soft drinks, fruit juices, poultry, and potatoes).

Results: Men who followed the "processed" dietary pattern had a significantly higher risk of developing prostate cancer than men in the other groups. Men who followed the traditional Western diet showed a "slightly increased prostate cancer risk," while men in the other two groups showed no risk or less risk of developing prostate cancer.

As the results of this study suggest, there are simple dietary steps your male patients can take to reduce their chances of developing prostate cancer. A good start is to limit intake of processed foods and red meats, and increase intake of fruits, vegetables and whole (unrefined) grains.


  • Walker M, Aronson KJ, King W, et al. Dietary patterns and risk of prostate cancer in Ontario, Canada. International Journal of Cancer, Sept. 10, 2005;116:592-598.

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Date Last Modified - Wednesday, 17-Dec-2008 12:43:02 PDT