A new study suggests that what men eat may affect how quickly their prostate cancer progresses.
High dietary saturated fat content is important for overall health and cardiovascular disease prevention. This recent study found that high dietary saturated fat content may also have a role in prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer develops in a man’s prostate. The prostate is a walnut sized gland just below the bladder that produces some of the fluid in the semen. It is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer. Prostate cancer generally grows slowly; however, some types are more aggressive and can spread quickly without treatment.
The findings were presented on April 18 at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in New Orleans. Findings presented at this annual meeting are generally viewed as preliminary until they have been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
However, the study did not prove that diet directly affects prostate cancer behavior, only that there is a link between those factors.
The study looked at more than 1,800 men from North Carolina and Louisiana. All the men had been diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2004 and 2009. The participants were asked about their eating habits and other factors at the time of their diagnosis.
A diet high in saturated fat contributes to higher cholesterol levels. The link between saturated fat and aggressive prostate cancer was weaker in men who took cholesterol lowering statin drugs.
The findings suggest that statins reduce, but don’t completely reverse, the effect that high amounts of saturated fat may have on prostate cancer.
The study also found that higher levels of polyunsaturated fats, found in foods such as fish and nuts, were associate with less aggressive prostate cancer.
More research is necessary in order to learn more about why a diet in high saturated fat is linked with more aggressive prostate cancer.