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Western Diet And Risk Of Prostate Cancer

August 28th, 2017

Western Diet And Risk Of Prostate Cancer

Western Diet And Risk Of Prostate Cancer

A latest research suggests that consuming a western diet that comprises of processed red meats, a lot of dairy products with high-fat and refined grains can significantly increase the risk of mortality in people who have prostate cancer. The research was carried out by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers who reported their findings in the peer-reviewed journal, Cancer Prevention Research.

Details Of The Study

The researchers studied 926 male subjects during this study, who were diagnosed with prostate cancer and investigated their regular diet and lifestyle habits. The senior author of the study, who is an assistant professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard Chan School, Jorge Chavarro suggested that to date there are no evident findings regarding the healthy lifestyle modifications and dietary changes in men diagnosed with prostate cancer in order to help them improve the quality of life. However, this study showed that sticking to a healthy diet can significantly minimize the mortality rate associated with prostate cancer.

Impact Of Western Diet On The Health Of Prostate Cancer Patients

Assistant Prof. Chavarro and his team set out to investigate the effects of diet on prostate cancer and compiled data of male physicians with an average age of 40 and 84, using the Physician’s Health Study I and II. The subjects of the study took part in a survey that included questionnaires regarding food frequency. The participants were divided into groups based on the two types of diets they consumed:

  • The western diet rich in fats, red meat and dairy products
  • The prudent diet rich in veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes and fish

The study revealed that the participants who consumed western diet had a 2.5 folds increased risk of death associated with prostate cancer along with a 67% greater incidence of mortality due to several causes in contrast to the other group who consumed prudent diet. The prudent diet consumers showed a marked decline of 36% in mortality rates associated with different causes.Natural treatments for Prostate Cancer image

In addition, the participants who consumed prudent diet were also reported to have a lower intake of alcohol and animal fat and were found to be non-smokers; whereas the participants who scored high in the western diet consumed less dietary vitamin D and calcium and were older in age in contrast to the participants of the other group.

Limitations Of The Study

Meng Yang, the fellow researcher at the Harvard School and leading author of the study speculated that the findings of the study are quite promising but have certain limitations. For example; the subjects of the study were all physicians and a great number of them were white men. Yang believes that socioeconomic factors such as ethnicity or race can have a huge impact on the study’s findings. The study also did not take physical activity into considerations or any other related factors such as the type of treatment the patients were receiving. The findings were independent of the contributing factors.

Even with the limitations, the researchers believe that consuming a healthy diet can significantly benefit the patients of prostate cancer and help in delaying the further complications and death.


  • Labbé, D. P., Zadra, G., Ebot, E. M., Mucci, L. A., Kantoff, P. W., Loda, M., & Brown, M. (2015). Role of diet in prostate cancer: the epigenetic link. Oncogene, 34(36), 4683.
  • Yang, M., Kenfield, S. A., Van Blarigan, E. L., Batista, J. L., Sesso, H. D., Ma, J., … & Chavarro, J. E. (2015). Dietary patterns after prostate cancer diagnosis in relation to disease-specific and total mortality. Cancer prevention research, 8(6), 545-551.

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