If a man in your life is at risk for developing prostate cancer symptoms, here’s some information you might want to pass along. While a connection between eating meat and enjoying high fat dairy products and cancer of the prostate has been suspected for a while, recent research by a team at Oxford University has been able to confirm the link.
Experts know that a diet rich in meat and high fat dairy products is likely to raise levels of a hormone called Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1 for short) that has been shown to promote cell growth. In fact, cells fed IGF-1 grow much more quickly, and may be part of the reason scientists worry it will aid the spread of tumors.
The work, conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford, reviewed the results of a dozen blood sample studies that included almost 9.000 men. By looking closely at this data, the researchers were able to more clearly identify the link between IGF-1 and this form of cancer. The team found that men with high levels of IGF-1 were 40% more likely to have prostate cancer than those with lower levels.
According lead researcher Dr. Andrew Roddam, “What we found was a modest association at best, but it was statistically significant. A lot of the individual studies found the same trend but were too underpowered for their results to be reliable.”
And while no one can say how much diet effects levels of IGF-1 in the body, Dr. Roddam, a Cancer Research UK epidemiologist at Oxford University, estimates it could be up to 15% higher for anyone who eats lots of dairy and meat. Previous studies have reported that IGF-1 levels are higher in those who eat a lot of meat, milk, butter and cheese.
But why are these delicious foods so bad?
First because they seem to be a large source of saturated fats and are an all too familiar part of most modern diets. These types of fats do damage to the body that we’re only just beginning to understand. What’s more, few people eat enough of the natural, good for you fruits and vegetables that are sources of antioxidants and other nutrients a body needs to stay healthy and strong. Add in our lack of physical activity and you can see why we’re headed for trouble.
Interestingly, the risk of prostate cancer is lower among men who are vegetarians as well as in populations that eat more rice, soybeans and vegetables.
Each year, prostate cancer claims nearly 30,000 lives in the US, and another 10,000 in the UK. To find out if the man in your life is at risk, take a look at factors identified by the American Cancer Society:
– Risks of prostate cancer increase as you age, especially after 50.
– Your risk of prostate cancer doubles if you have a father or brother with the disease.
– Prostate cancer is more common in African American men, and these patients are typically diagnosed at a later stage than other men.
– Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia and the Caribbean islands; it’s less common in Asia, Africa, Central and South America.
– Obese men are at an increased risk of developing this form of cancer, as well as many other diseases.
Research continues and treatment options for prostate cancer symptoms are improving all the time. If you or someone you love is at risk, or has just been diagnosed, don’t panic but do learn all you can about this disease and ways to stay well. One of the first steps may simply to substitute that burger with a piece of fruit or vegetables instead.