WASHINGTON—The Physicians Committee—a nonprofit of 12,000 doctors—is urging physicians to counsel patients on dietary changes, including eating a plant-based diet and eliminating dairy products, which can help reduce prostate cancer risk and progression. The recommendations follow a new study in the journal Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases that finds metastatic prostate cancer cases are on the rise.
Metastatic prostate cancer cases—in which the cancer spreads to other parts of the body—are up 72 percent in men ages 55 to 69 years old in the last decade, according to the study authored by Adam Weiner and other researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Based on these findings some are calling for increased prostate cancer screening.
“Physicians should begin prescribing patients prostate cancer prevention decades before screening begins,” says Physicians Committee director of nutrition and education policy Agustina Saenz, M.D., M.P.H. “Eating a plant-based diet and eliminating dairy products and eggs are vital steps in protecting against prostate cancer.”
A recent meta-analysis found that prostate cancer risk increased with increased consumption of milk and cheese. Another study found that men diagnosed with prostate cancer who consumed three or more servings of low- or high-fat dairy products a day had a 141 percent higher risk for death due to prostate cancer, compared to those who consumed less than one serving. A Harvard study found that men diagnosed with prostate cancer who ate the most eggs had a two-fold increased risk of cancer progression.
“Screening is important to prevent the spread of prostate cancer, but we need to shift the focus to preventing it in the first place, by staying away from dairy and eggs and incorporating a plant-based diet,” Dr. Saenz concludes.
A plant-based diet can protect against prostate cancer. In a recent study, researchers found that men who followed a vegan diet experienced a 35 percent lower prostate cancer risk than those following a nonvegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, or semi-vegetarian diet.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research and medical training.