06/30/2013 10:10 am ET

Healthy Lifestyle Could Lower Prostate Cancer Patients' Risk Of Aggressive Tumors


Living a healthy lifestyle could help to lower prostate cancer patients' risk of developing aggressive tumors, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles' Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center found that following four or more of the World Cancer Research Fund's lifestyle recommendations is linked with a lower risk of developing aggressive tumors among men with prostate cancer.

The lifestyle recommendations, which were crafted to apply to people with any type of cancer, include items such as maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding sugary drinks and energy-dense foods (like processed foods), exercising for at least a half-hour every day, limiting red and processed meats and eating lots of produce.

"Most men are at risk of prostate cancer, but it is the level of aggressiveness of disease that is most clinically relevant," study researcher Lenore Arab, Ph.D., who is a professor at the university, said in a statement. "These findings suggest that even men with prostate cancer can take control of their disease and moderate its aggressiveness through diet and lifestyle choices."

When prostate cancer is caught early and has not progressed outside of the prostate, the "cure rate" for the condition is high, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. However, a small group of men do develop aggressive prostate cancer, which grows at a fast rate and can spread elsewhere in the body. When this happens, the condition becomes a lot more dangerous.

The study, published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, included 2,212 African American and Caucasian men between ages 40 and 70. All of the men had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Researchers found that aggressive tumor risk was 38 percent higher for the men who adhered to fewer than four of the lifestyle recommendations, compared with those who adhered to four or more of the recommendations, and this increased risk held true for both African American men and Caucasian men.

Researchers found, particularly, that men seemed to be protected from developing aggressive tumors by limiting red meat consumption -- less than 500 grams (1.1 pounds) over the course of a week -- and consuming fewer than 125 kilocalories for every 100 grams of food each day.

The same World Cancer Research Fund lifestyle recommendations have also been shown in research to benefit breast cancer patients. A study published this year in the Journal of Clinical Oncology showed that health-related quality of life was improved among elderly breast cancer survivors the more they adhered to the recommendations, particularly the physical activity one.

Similarly, a study published this year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and conducted by Imperial College London researchers showed that adhering to the World Cancer Research Fund recommendations could lower risk of death from different conditions, including respiratory disease and cancer.



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