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Pan-Fried Meat May Raise Prostate Cancer Risk

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You might be raising your risk of prostate cancer, all by the way you cook your meat.

At least that's what a new study from University of Southern California and Cancer Prevention Institute of California researchers suggests. They found that men who eat one-and-a-half servings of pan-fried red meat each week have a 30 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.

And the researchers found that the risk increased the more pan-fried meat the men ate -- men who ate two-and-a-half servings of pan-fried red meat was linked with a 40 percent higher risk of having advanced prostate cancer.

"The observations from this study alone are not enough to make any health recommendations, but given the few modifiable risk factors known for prostate cancer, the understanding of dietary factors and cooking methods are of high public health relevance," study researcher Mariana Stern, Ph.D., an associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California, said in a statement.

The study, published in the journal Carcinogenesis, included 2,000 men who were part of the California Collaborative Prostate Cancer Study. More than half of the men were diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Researchers noted how much meat they ate, what kinds, and how they cooked it (whether it was pan-fried, grilled, broiled in the oven, etc.).

Researchers found that hamburger meat in particular -- versus red meat in the form of steak -- seemed to increase prostate cancer. Pan-fried poultry was also linked with increased prostate cancer risk, while oven baked poultry was linked with decreased prostate cancer risk.

Even though the exact reason for this association isn't completely clear, the study authors suspect it may have something to do with carcinogens, called heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, that may form when you cook meat at high temperatures.

And it may not just be how you cook your meat, but the meat itself, that can raise cancer risk too. A study published earlier this year in the British Journal of Cancer showed that eating an extra 50 grams of processed meat each day (about a sausage's worth) could raise your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by 19 percent. Meanwhile, an extra 100 grams per day (so, two sausages' worth) could increase pancreatic cancer risk by 38 percent.

However, it's important to note that still, the overall risk of developing pancreatic cancer remains low.

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