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05 June 2015 09:28
Could a healthy diet cut the risk of dying from prostate cancer?
The chances of dying from prostate cancer can be significantly lowered by eating more healthily after being diagnosed, the findings of a new study suggest.
US researchers say that those who avoid a lot of red and processed meat, fatty foods and refined grains are two and a half times less likely to die from the disease than those who insist on sticking to an unhealthy diet.
Prostate cancer is the UK's biggest male killer, claiming around 11,000 lives a year with some 41,000 men diagnosed with the disease annually.
But the disease can be treated and does not have to stop people leading a normal life, or from going on holiday armed with a medical travel insurance policy.
The team from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston analysed 14 years' worth of information about the health and dietary habits of more than 900 men who had been told they had prostate cancer.
The men were split into four different groups based on how closely they stuck to an unhealthy, so-called Western diet.
As well as the increased chances of dying from prostate cancer, the researchers found those who continued to eat unhealthily raised their risk of dying from any cause by 67%.
Men whose diets included a lot of fruit, vegetables, beans and fish, meanwhile, cut their chances of dying from any cause by 36%, according to the study which is published in the Cancer Prevention Research journal.
Dr Jorge Chavarro, who was part of the research team, said there has been little evidence to help advise prostate cancer sufferers about how they can alter their lifestyles to increase their chances of beating it.
But he added that the study's findings provided some evidence to suggest that men could cut their risk of dying from the disease by following a healthy diet.
Dr Meng Yang, the study's lead author, stresses that with the data analysed coming from a group made up entirely of white people, it is vital that further research is carried out among men from more ethnically and socio-economically varied backgrounds.
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