Western Diet May Increase Risk of Prostate Cancer Death

Nearly 3 million men are living with prostate cancer in the U.S. New findings are showing a major correlation between what a man eats and the difference in how long he'll live with the cancer. An unhealthy western diet may contribute to more aggressive prostate cancer. 


Scientists at Harvard University in Boston where findings suggest that those who eat an unhealthy western diet high in red meat, fat and white carbs are more likely to die. The findings appear in the journal Cancer Prevention Research. Currently, little to no evidence exists to help men diagnosed with prostate cancer modify their lifestyle to improve their chances of survival with this disease. 

From this study, two types of dietary patterns were found. One being a prudent pattern which included a high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and beans and the second being a Western pattern made up of processed and red meats, high-fat dairy and refined grains such as often used in processed foods. Researchers followed men over 10 years to monitor the effects of each dietary pattern. Men who ate mostly a Western diet of processed and high-fat foods had a 2.5 times greater risk of dying from prostate cancer as well as a 67% higher risk of death overall. Men on the other side had a 36% lower risk of dying from the disease.

Researchers found a diet high in red and processed meat, fat and refined grains was linked to an increased risk of death. 

Researchers analyzed 926 men, following their diagnosis of prostate cancer for an average of 14 years. Those who ate Western diets were found to be of greater risk with men eating more fruit, vegetables and fish less likely to succumb to the disease. 

Learn about healthy foods for prostate health here

Study Correlation: High Intake of Red Meat and Aggressive Prostate Cancer

A new study from Duke University Medical Center published in the journal, BMC Medicine, showed that what you eat can influence the risk of prostate cancer. Here's what men need to know. Worldwide, prostate cancer is diagnosed in almost 1 million men and it is the most common cancer among men in the United States. 

Researchers found that prostate cancer had a six-fold occurrence in Western compared to non-Western countries. Factors related to lifestyle, diet, genetics and environment were thought to play a big role in the development of the disease. 

Scientists focused on analyzing the potential role dietary patterns play in the development and occurrence of prostate cancer.

The study findings included:

  • Foods to reduce risk of prostate cancer
    • low intake of refine carbs
    • increased consumption of:
      • omega-3 fats
        • soy protein
        • green teas
        • coffee
        • pomegranates
        • resveratrol (found in raspberries, blueberries, grapes and wine)
        • tomatoes

They also found an anti-inflammatory mixture of herbs deemed Zyflamend (ginger, green tea, oregano, rosemary etc.) reduced prostate cancer risk. But on the contrary, a higher β-carotene status found in plants and fruits along with a higher intake of saturated fat increased the risk of developing the disease.  

Experts are looking at these results carefully and hoping it opens up more doors to an increase in the number of studies that look at dietary patterns and lifestyle factors with regards to the development of prostate cancer. The findings in this particular study are somewhat inconclusive but there does seem to be evidence for a potential role of dietary intake in the prevention of prostate cancer. 

Researchers suggest that a combination of all dietary factors found to be advantageous for prostate cancer risk reduce might be beneficial to men. This type of dietary pattern would include a high consumption of fruits and vegetables and reduced intake of refine carbohydrates.