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Role of diet in cancer

Men may be able to lower their risk of developing prostate cancer, or slow its progression, by watching their diets.

Role of diet in cancer

Men may be able to lower their risk of developing prostate cancer, or slow its progression, by watching their diets.

In an analysis of previous studies, mostly published since the 1990s, Australian researchers found that, in general, diets relatively high in fat, processed or grilled meats, or dairy products were linked to a high risk of prostate cancer. In contrast, men who regularly ate vegetables - in particular, tomatoes and cabbage family of vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and sprouts - seemed to have a relatively lower risk of developing the cancer.

The same appears true of men who consume greater amounts of vitamin E, soya, fish and omega-3 fatty acids (good fats found in oily fish and certain other foods such as flax seeds). The review also found that there is evidence that a similar eating pattern may help slow tumour progression in men who have prostate cancer. The role of diet in prostate cancer is still not completely clear.

Studies on individual foods or nutrients - including dairy, calcium, tomatoes and lycopene - have often come to conflicting confusions. But while the evidence is not concrete, the researchers suggested that men should be aware that diet may influence their risk of prostate cancer. Research suggests that eating grilled or processed meat more than five times per week is associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer. Similarly, men who eat dairy products more than five times per week have a higher risk than those eating such foods less often. On the other hand, a diet low in saturated fat, but high in tomatoes, cabbage family of vegetables, fish and omega-3 fats may help lower the chances of prostate cancer development or progression.

Men should be careful about taking high doses of any supplement as a study has shown that vitamin E and selenium supplements, together or alone, do not lower men's chances of developing prostate cancer - and among men on vitamin E alone, there was a slightly higher number of cancer cases, though the link may have been due to chance.

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