It’s a fact: Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in American men. Yet when it comes to fighting this disease, the battle isn’t as easy, thanks to old age and late diagnoses–something that isn’t going away.
As for making it less severe, however, there may be a new way to fight it, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.
Examining a group of men diagnosed with prostate cancer, researchers looked at how two separate diets affected the progression of their prostate tumors–and found that those who ate a diet where 15 percent of the calories came from fat had slower growing tumors compared to those who ate a more high-fat diet.
Unfortunately, most American men opt to follow the high-fat diet.
“These studies are showing that, in men with prostate cancer, you really are what you eat,” says William Aronson, a UCLA clinical professor of urology at UCLA. “The studies suggest that by altering the diet, we may favorably affect the biology of prostate cancer.”
Studying a group of older American men diagnosed with prostate cancer, researchers wanted to see if certain diets affected the cell biology of prostate tumors–something speculated in the past to affect its progression. To do so, they split the men into two groups to follow two separate diets: A low-fat diet and a high-fat diet.
The high-fat diet, not surprisingly, mimicked the typical diet most American men consume–high in fat, and usually not the good kind. On average, 40 percent of their calories came from fat everyday, over 10 percent over the recommended amount.
The other group took a more balanced approach, however, consuming only 15 percent of their calories from fat, considered a low-fat diet. They also took 5 grams of a fish oil supplement, a supplement that contained healthy fats called omega 3 fatty acids. In years past, these types of fats had been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and cholesterol problems.
Researchers then waited to see how each respective diet affected the size of their prostate tumors–and it turned out the low-fat diet was the winner.
“For this most recent study, the investigators wanted to determine exactly how the low-fat fish oil diet works to produce the effects found in their previous research,” says Honor Whiteman, a contributor to Medical News Today. ” On analyzing one particular pro-inflammatory substance called leukotriene B4 (LTB4), it was found that men with lower levels of this substance after following the low-fat diet also had lower CCP scores.”
Bottom line? Eating a low fat diet could possibly slow down the progression of prostate cancer. Don’t expect it to replace chemotherapy, however.
How You Can Use These Findings
At risk of prostate cancer? You needn’t battle the disease in order to make low-fat dieting work for you; in the meanwhile, adopting a low-fat diet could possibly reduce you risk of developing cancer in the first place.
Readers: What else do you do to reduce your cancer risk?