Red meats maximise the risks of prostate cancer

Consuming pan fried red meats could potentially maximise the risks of prostate cancer by over a third.

The new study examined the association between red meat and poultry intake and localised and advanced prostate cancer in more than 1500 cancer suffered.

Led by Dr Mariana Stern the University of Southern California (USC) and Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC), USA, the research team discovered that men who ate more than two servings of red meat cooked at high temperatures per week increased the risks over 40%.

Stern said: “We found that men who ate more than 1.5 servings of pan-fried red meat per week increased their risk of advanced prostate cancer by 30 percent. In addition, men who ate more than 2.5 servings of red meat cooked at high temperatures were 40 percent more likely to have advanced prostate cancer.

“Our results support a role for carcinogens that accumulate in meats cooked at high temperatures as potential PCA risk factors, and may support a role for heterocyclic amines in prostate cancer etiology”.

She added that their research provide important new evidence on how red meat and its cooking practices could increase the risk for prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men with only lung cancer becoming the most common cancer diagnosis in a year.

Studies have suggested that moving away to western countries and adopting certain diets or lifestyle characteristics could become the reason for increasing risks of malignancy.

Over the last decade, several large cohort studies of meat intake and prostate cancer have been published, with a recent review of dietary factors suggesting that high meat consumption may increase the risk of prostate cancer.

However, overall findings have been mixed – with a recent systematic review of 26 large scale trials finding no link between meat consumption and prostate cancer.

Stern and her co-workers studied pooled data from nearly 2,000 men who took part in the California Collaborative Prostate Cancer Study.

The participants completed a comprehensive questionnaire that evaluated amount and type of meat intake, including poultry and processed red meat. Information regarding cooking practices (for example, pan-frying, oven-broiling and grilling) was also obtained using colour photographs that displayed the level of doneness.

The team also said that more than of the participants with cancer in the study, more than 1,000 were diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.

They reported that cooking red meats at high temperatures, especially pan-fried red meats, may increase the risk of advanced prostate cancer by as much as over a third.

When considering specific types of red meats, hamburgers – but not steak – were connected to an increased risk of prostate cancer, especially among Hispanic men.

Stern explained: “We speculate that these findings are a result of different levels of carcinogen accumulation found in hamburgers, given that they can attain higher internal and external temperatures faster than steak”.

The team also discovered that men with diets high in baked poultry had a lower risk of advanced prostate cancer, while consumption of pan-fried poultry was associated with increased risk.

Stern said that pan-frying, regardless of meat type, consistently led to an increased risk of prostate cancer. She also said that while the team cannot offer a full reason for why pan-frying poses a higher risk for prostate cancer, they suspect it is due to the formation of the DNA-damaging carcinogens – heterocyclic amines (HCAs) – during the cooking of red meat and poultry.


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