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Just as glandular breast tissue can become cancerous, so can glandular prostate tissue. Autopsy studies show that about half of men over the age of 80 appear to have prostate cancer, and most die without ever knowing they had it.

 

Does food factor into prostate cancer risk?

 

Harvard University researchers followed more than a thousand men with early-stage prostate cancer for several years. Compared with men who rarely ate eggs, men who ate even less than a single egg a day appeared to have twice the risk of prostate cancer progression, such as metastasizing into the bones. The only thing potentially worse for prostate cancer than eggs was poultry: Men with more aggressive cancer who regularly ate chicken and turkey had up to four times the prostate cancer progression risk. On the other hand, less than a single daily serving of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, or kale may cut the risk of cancer progression by more than half.

Researchers suggest that the link between consuming poultry and advancing cancer may be due to cooked-meat carcinogens, such as heterocyclic amines. For unknown reasons, these carcinogens build up more in the muscles of chickens and turkeys than in those of other animals. But what cancer-promoting substance is there in eggs? The answer may be choline, a compound found concentrated in eggs. Higher levels of choline in the blood have been associated with increased risk of developing prostate cancer, and men who consume two and a half or more eggs per week—basically an egg every three days—may have an 81 percent increased risk of dying from prostate cancer.

Dairy, too, appears to play a role. A 2015 meta-analysis found that high intakes of dairy products—milk, low-fat milk, and cheese, but not nondairy sources of calcium—appear to increase total prostate cancer risk.

Dr. Dean Ornish and Pritikin Research Foundation researchers showed that the blood of people randomized to a plant-based diet group appeared dramatically less hospitable to cancer-cell growth than the blood of people in the control group who continued to eat their typical diet. The blood of people eating plant-based diets was shown to fight cancer about eight times better than those on the standard American diet, as well as suppress cancer cell growth by 70 percent, nearly eight times the stopping power compared to those on a meat-centered menu.

Image Credit: designer451 / Thinkstock. This image has been modified.

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