Researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) have published the first study on adherence to critical World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) lifestyle recommendations and aggressive prostate cancer that shows a significantly decreased risk of highly aggressive prostate cancer associated with closer adherence to the recommendations. The recommendations provided desirable ranges of body mass index, physical activity, foods of low caloric density (under 125 kilocalories per 100 grams of food), fruits and non-starchy vegetables, salt, legumes and unrefined grains, and red meat consumption.
Led by Lenore Arab, PhD, JCCC member and professor in the departments of medicine and biological chemistry, the researchers examined associations between adherence to WCRF recommendations and risk of highly aggressive prostate cancer among subjects enrolled in the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project. Study subjects were 2212 African American or Caucasian American men 40 to 70 years old with newly diagnosed prostate cancer. WCRF recommendations are intended to decrease overall risk of cancer, and are recommended for cancer survivors. The study was published online ahead of print in the journal Nutrition and Cancer.
Adherence to fewer than four WCRF recommendations predicted a 38% increased risk of aggressive tumors compared with adherence to four or more recommendations. That finding was statistically significant and similar among black and white men, despite a baseline higher risk of highly aggressive tumors among black men. In particular, eating less than 500 grams of conventional red meat per week or less than 125 total calories per 100 grams of food per day were statistically significantly protective against highly aggressive tumors for all subjects in the study.
5 Critical Lifestyle Recommendations Prevent Aggressive Cancer
1) Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight
Convincing evidence shows that weight gain and obesity increases the risk of a number of cancers, including bowel and breast cancer. Maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular physical activity to help keep your risk lower.
2) Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day
There is strong evidence that physical activity protects against cancers including bowel and breast cancer. Being physically active is also key to maintaining a healthy weight. Any type of activity counts – the more you do the better! Try to build some into your everyday life.
3) Limit consumption of energy-dense foods (foods high in fats and/or added sugars and/or low in fibre) and avoid sugary drinks
Energy-dense foods are high in fats sugars and can be low in nutrients. These foods, especially when consumed frequently or in large portions, increase the risk of obesity, which increases the risk of cancer. Fast foods like burgers, chips, fried chicken and most fast food pizzas, and snack foods like conventional chocolate bars, crisps and biscuits tend to be energy dense.Some energy-dense foods, such as nuts, seeds and some vegetable oils are important sources of nutrients, and have not been linked with weight gain as part of a typical diet.
Sugary drinks, such as colas and processed fruit juices can also contribute to weight gain. Try to eat lower energy-dense foods such as vegetables and fruits. Opt for water or unsweetened tea or coffee in place of sugary drinks.
Average energy density of diets to be lowered towards 125 kcal per 100g.
4) Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats
There is strong evidence that conventional red and processed meats are causes of bowel cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and that there is no amount of processed meat that can be confidently shown not to increase risk.Aim to limit intake of red meat to less than 500g cooked weight (about 700-750g raw weight) a week. Try to avoid processed meats such as bacon, ham, salami, corned beef and some sausages.
5) Limit consumption of foods processed with table salt
Evidence shows that table salt and salt-preserved foods cause stomach cancer and autoimmune disease. Try to use herbs and spices to flavour your food and remember that processed foods, including bread and breakfast cereals, can contain large amounts of salt.Each point in a patient’s total adherence score corresponded to a 13% reduction in risk of aggressive cancer. A total adherence score of less than 4 predicted an increased risk of aggressive tumors in African American and Caucasian patients.
“Most men are at risk of prostate cancer, but it is the level of aggressiveness of disease that is most clinically relevant,” Arab says, “These findings suggest that even men with prostate cancer can take control of their disease and moderate its aggressiveness through diet and lifestyle choices.”
Measurement of prostate cancer aggressiveness was based on Gleason grading system scores, blood levels of prostate-specific antigen, and TNM malignant tumor classification.
Adherence to WCRF recommendations was based on point scores and odds ratios estimated. These findings assume that patients’ reports reflect their long-term dietary habits, which is supported by research that indicates that diet is relatively stable in adulthood.
About the Author
Mae Chan holds degrees in both physiology and nutritional sciences. She is also blogger and and technology enthusiast with a passion for disseminating information about health.
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