Prostate Cancer: Study shows patients who eat vegetable fats, nuts and olive oil, tend to live longer

By Randell Suba , Jun 11, 2013 10:28 AM EDT

Prostate cancer patients in the early stage of the disease can better their chances of survival, if they follow a diet rich in vegetable fats, according to new study.

A study by experts from the University of California, San Francisco has recommended to prostate cancer patients a diet that gives up carbohydrates and animal fats for vegetable fats found in canola or olive oil, seeds, avocados and nuts.

The findings of the research titled "Fat Intake After Diagnosis and Risk of Lethal Prostate Cancer and All-Cause Mortality" were published June 10 in the JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study found out that prostate cancer patients who consume a serving of nuts everyday will lower their risk of dying from the disease by as much as 18 percent and 11 percent for other causes. Those who use oil-based dressing everyday will lower their risk by 29 percent and 11 percent from dying because of prostate cancer and other causes, respectively.

"Overall, our findings support counseling men with prostate cancer to follow a heart-healthy diet in which carbohydrate calories are replaced with unsaturated oils and nuts to reduce the risk of all-cause mortality," explained Erin Richman, lead researcher from the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UCSF, when interviewed for an article on the official blog of the university.

The study explored the possible association of dietary fats and prostate cancer, a dreaded disease affecting about 2.5 million men in the United States, and how a change in diet can affect the progression of the disease and patient mortality.

In order to investigate the connection between lethal prostate cancer and fat intake of patients, they followed up on 4,577 patients diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer between 1986 and 2010 and see how their diets affect all-cause mortality. During the course of an earlier study to which the patients originally participated, about 1,064 of them died. Most of these patients did not die from prostate cancer but from heart disease.

"The beneficial effects of unsaturated fats and harmful effects of saturated and trans fats on cardiovascular health are well known. Now our research has shown additional potential benefits of consuming unsaturated fats among men with prostate cancer," Richman elaborated.

The data suggest that eating healthy foods may benefit patients but the potential benefit of consuming vegetable fat for prostate cancer-specific outcomes should be further investigated according to the research.

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