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Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, except for skin cancer. This year, about 248,530 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
When diagnosed early, though, the five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is nearly 100 percent.
Except, that is if you are obese.
For over a decade, research studies have found a strong connection between obesity and the aggressiveness of prostate cancer.
The reasons are still being explored, but the connection is undeniable.
A landmark study and the obesity and prostate cancer connection
In 2003, a landmark study by the American Cancer Society showed that obese people are at increased risk for death from several kinds of cancer, including prostate cancer.
The authors of this study stated: “On the basis of associations observed in this study, we estimate that current patterns of overweight and obesity in the United States could account for 14 percent of all deaths from cancer in men and 20 percent of those in women.”
That’s a lot of deaths that could have been prevented with some healthy lifestyle adjustments.
Prostate cancer in men was one of the cancers that was associated with an increased risk of death when a man carried extra weight.
Other researchers have picked up the ball and continued to shed light on this connection.
More proof that obesity and prostate cancer go hand in hand
In 2004, Dr. Steven Freedland, a urologist who was at that time associated with Johns Hopkins Medical Center, published an extensive review of the existing literature on the relationship between prostate cancer and obesity.
He found that:
- Obesity is associated not only with excess body fat but also with altered blood levels of various hormones, including testosterone, estrogen, insulin, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1, and leptin, all of which have to some degree been linked to prostate cancer.
- The majority of the epidemiologic literature suggests that obesity might be related to the risk of getting prostate cancer. However, it is clearly associated with an increased risk of dying from the disease once it develops.
- Leptin and adiponectin are hormones that are secreted by fat cells. Obese men tend to secrete more leptin and less adiponectin, and both of these were associated with larger, more advanced tumors when prostate cancer was diagnosed.
- The strongest dietary risk factor for prostate cancer is consuming animal products. In fact, as men in other countries have adopted a more Western lifestyle and diet, more cases of prostate cancer have been diagnosed, and the mortality rate has gone up.
Abdominal fat is worse
More recently, a Canadian research team examined data from a survey conducted in Montreal between 2005 and 2012. They observed that abdominal obesity, or fat around the midsection, was associated with an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
Eric Vallières is a Université de Montréal student conducting his doctoral research at Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), and the study’s main author.
He says, “Abdominal obesity causes hormonal and metabolic variations that can promote the growth of hormone-dependent cancer cells.
“Abdominal obesity is believed to be associated with a decrease in testosterone, as well as a state of chronic inflammation linked to the development of aggressive tumors.”
Ways to lose weight for a healthier prostate
This research gives men some clear guidance on how to change their diet to avoid prostate cancer or to increase their chances of survival if they do have the disease. Here’s are some suggestions to get you started…
Dr. Geo Espinoza has written on how the Mediterranean diet is good for your prostate. And here, he lists seven of the worst foods for prostate health.
My colleague Virginia Tims-Lawson has written about the diet that boosts testosterone and burns more calories.
Three supplements have been tied to helping decrease belly fat…
- Researchers have proven that increasing omega-3 intake in obese people reduces belly fat by actually shrinking the size of individual fat cells. Omega-3s have the amazing ability to increase metabolic activity within fat cells — so the more active cells stay in leaner shape than sluggish ones.
- Taking probiotics is a proven way to lose weight and belly fat. In fact, studies show taking probiotics can help you lose weight in as little as three to twelve weeks. But if you want to use probiotics for weight loss, studies show you should take them for at least eight weeks for the best results.
- One study shows that eating more fiber can boost levels of a healthy gut bacteria called Bacteroidetes, which is usually found in the guts of lean people. And studies consistently tie low-fiber diets to weight gain. You can choose to eat more fiber in your diet, or since so many people seem to struggle with getting enough fiber through diet alone, a scoop of fiber powder in your morning smoothie isn’t a bad idea.
But dietary changes may not be enough, meaning you may need to get moving…
HIIT workouts have shown success in helping men lose belly fat. But if you can’t handle too much cardio, a study at Harvard shows that men who do about 20 minutes of daily weight-lifting put on less belly fat as they age than other men who do 20 minutes a day of aerobic activities like running, walking or biking.
Editor’s note: Discover how to live a cancer prevention lifestyle — using foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs — as well as little-known therapies allowed in other countries but denied to you by American mainstream medicine. Click here to discover Surviving Cancer! A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Causes, Treatments and Big Business Behind Medicine’s Most Frightening Diagnosis!
Prostate cancer linked to obesity — Medical Xpress