Can You Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk Through Diet?

coffee

Over the next several blogs, we’ll look at some dietary elements that might affect your risk of getting prostate cancer. Up today? Coffee. We now have some data suggesting that there might be an association between coffee consumption and lower risk. Examples include:

  • Among 48,000 professionals, those who drank more than 6 cups of coffee daily had a 60 percent lower risk of lethal prostate cancers (as compared to those who drank no coffee). Coffee, not caffeine, seemed to matter. This study asked about code use every 4 years over a 28-year period.
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH)-American Association of Retired Persons (NIH-AARP) study found no link, but  it asked participants about coffee only once over an 11 year period.

The bottom line: While we lack high level evidence linking coffee consumption to a decrease in the risk of the lethal form of prostate cancer, the Health Professionals Study is suggestive of an association. The NIH-AARP study, albeit suboptimal, did not find such a link. I typically recommend that patients who enjoy coffee do so in moderation, limiting their daily intake to no more than 3 to 4 cups daily.

Certainly, those who wish to lower their personal risk of lethal prostate cancer might:

  • Exercise
  • Lose (or don’t gain) excess weight
  • Quit (or don’t start) smoking
  • Avoid calcium supplements, unless your diet is deficient in calcium
  • Eat a heart healthy diet, with lots of fruits and vegetables, low-fat (not high-fat) dairy, whole grains (instead of refined grains), fish and poultry (instead of red meat), egg whites (instead of whole eggs), and oils (in lieu of shortening or butter).

I’m Dr. Michael Hunter, and (full disclosure) I live in the coffee center of the USA, Seattle.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad:  Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minute; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you.

References: 1. J Nat Cancer Inst 103; 876, 2011; 2. Cancer Causes Control 2013. doi:10.1007/s10552-013-0229-6.

Weight at Diagnosis Linked to Prostate Cancer Mortality Risk

Men who are overweight or obese when they are diagnosed with prostate cancer are more likely to die from the disease than men who are of healthy weight, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice. In patients with more aggressive forms of prostate cancer, the researchers also found an even stronger correlation between obesity and mortality.

The Study: This study included 751 Kaiser Permanente patients with prostate cancer who underwent radical prostatectomy, an operation that includes removal of the prostate and surrounding tissue. The researchers explored the association between the patients’ body mass index and prostate cancer mortality, adjusted for tumor aggressiveness and other characteristics.

Results: The researchers found men who died from prostate cancer were 50 percent more likely to be overweight or obese at diagnosis compared to men who did not die from the disease. Men with high Gleason scores, a rating of the aggressiveness of prostate cancer cells, had the highest association between BMI and death, specifically men with Gleason scores of 8 or higher. The Gleason score ranges from 2 to 10, with the highest number representing the greatest likelihood of tumor cells spreading.

I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad:  Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minute; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you.

Does Obesity Increase the Risk of Prostate Intraepithelial Neoplasia (PIN)?

English: Male Abdominal obesity.
Male obesity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PIN: Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) means that some of the prostate cells look abnormal under the microscope. Epithelial cells line the tiny sacs in the prostate and ducts that carry fluid in the prostate. Sometimes, the PIN changes are mild, not other times they start to look like they have cell changes characteristic of cancer cells. Whether PIN will progress to cancer (and what we should do if we find PIN, especially high-grade PIN) is unclear.

The study: Researchers from the Columbia University School of Public Health in New York City found that patients who had benign biopsies of the prostate and were obese were more likely to be found with prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). Adjusting for family history, PSA levels, and digital rectal exam findings led to the finding (1.57x increased risk).

My take: This study shows that obesity is associated with a higher risk of precancerous abnormalities. This type of research is not very helpful from a practical standpoint. Questions remain: What is it about obesity that makes some types of prostate cancer more common? Is it the obesity itself, or something associated with it? Inactivity? Diet? Let’s move on to better studies, including a weight loss intervention (or dietary intervention) and then assess prostate cancer risk. While this is an interesting study, I’d like to know if obesity is a true causal agent for some prostate cancers. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

Reference: Rundle A. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2013;doi:10:1158/

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad:  Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minuteable now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you.