Can Diet Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk?

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A recent study found that diet reduces prostate cancer risk and improves survival rates of men with prostate cancer. In the study, investigators followed men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and discovered that replacing carbohydrates and animal fat with vegetable fat may help men live longer. Reducing your risk of prostate cancer by diet is the latest news about how diet may affect survival rates of men with prostate cancer. Healthy vegetable fats come from foods like olive oils, nuts, seeds, and avocados.

Researchers in the study followed almost 4,600 men with localized or non-spreading prostate cancer for over eight years.

Men who changed just 10% of their daily calories from animal fats and carbohydrates to healthy vegetable fats were 29% less likely to die from their prostate cancer spreading. Men who changed their diet were also 26% less likely to die from other diseases as well.

Small changes in diet can equal big health benefits. The study showed that a small change like adding one tablespoon of an oil-based salad dressing each day resulted in a 29% lower risk of dying from prostate cancer as well as a 13% lower risk of dying from other causes.

Eat the right fats to reduce prostate cancer risk

While the study does not state why the small change in diet gave those men an advantage, it will hopefully lead to more research in diet’s role in affecting prostate cancer prevention, growth, and survival rates. There is already much evidence that healthy fats help reduce heart disease risks. Because obesity is a risk factor for prostate cancer, doctors may tell patients to cut out fat from their diet.

This study shows that the kind of fat is important. Cut out unhealthy animal fats, which are called saturated fats, but keep the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from plant sources. The healthy fats have many more health benefits than risks due to calories. What is important to remember, and supported by the study, is that a small amount makes a positive difference; that is, a small handful of nuts, a slice of avocado, or a tablespoon of oil. More is not necessarily better for the risk of prostate cancer reduced by diet.

Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.


Richman EL et al. Fat intake after diagnosis and risk of lethal prostate cancer and all-cause mortality. JAMA Intern Med 2013; 73(14):138-26

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