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New study warns: Western diet poses a serious death risk for prostate cancer patients

by , 03 June 2015

A new study has suggested that following a Western diet - high in red and processed meats, refined grains and high-fat dairy products - could significantly increase the risk of death for men with prostate cancer…

From both prostate cancer and all causes!

Researchers from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in the US conducted the study that Cancer Prevention Research published.

Researchers looked at the diets of 926 prostate cancer patients for an average of 14 years after diagnosis to come to their findings.

Read on to find out more…

Modifying your diet could improve your chances of surviving prostate cancer

According to the study authors, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed and second most lethal cancer for men in the world. The American Cancer Society (ACS) says that around 1 in 7 men will develop this cancer during their lifetime.
Researchers explain that following a heart-healthy diet  can reduce your chance of dying from prostate cancer. Following the Western diet on the other hand, characterised by red and processed meats, refined grains and high-fat dairy, can have the opposite effect, they say.
For the study, researchers obtained data from the Physicians’ Health Study I and II. Participants from these studies were American males aged 40 to 84. Researchers sent them food-frequency questionnaires to collect information on their diets.
They then grouped the participants in quartiles based on whether they followed a Western dietary pattern or a prudent dietary pattern (which involved a higher consumption of fruit, vegetables, fish, legumes and whole grains).
During the follow-up, 333 participants died, with 56 of these deaths (17%) attributed to prostate cancer.
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But it’s unclear why your diet might improve survivorship of prostate cancer

Researchers found that those who ate a predominantly Western diet (those in the highest quartile) were 2.5 times more likely to die from prostate cancer and had a 67% increased risk of all-cause mortality compared with participants in the lowest quartile. 
In comparison, the men who followed a prudent diet closely had a 36% lower risk of all-cause mortality.
The researchers noted a number of characteristics concerning the following of the two particular diets. Those who scored highest for the prudent diet consumed less animal fat and alcohol, and were more likely to have never smoked.
Men scoring highest for the Western diet tended to be older at prostate cancer diagnosis and had lower intakes of vitamin D and calcium.
The team says their results are encouraging though it’s important to keep the limitations of the study in kind. All of the participants were physicians and they were all white, researchers reveal.
But despite these limitations, the team believes their findings suggest that modifications to your diet after prostate cancer diagnosis can have a direct clinical impact and significantly influence your chances of survival.
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