How does the Mediterranean diet affect mortality rates of prostate cancer?

Updated: Oct 11, 2019
  • Author: Mark A Moyad, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Prostate cancer has become such a frequently diagnosed condition that much research has been undertaken to understand its etiologic factors and how its onset can be prevented, or at least delayed. Although the primary risk factor for developing prostate cancer is aging, the role of diet and nutrition in the development and progression of this and other cancers has received increasing attention. [15]

Heart-healthy dietary patterns appear to be garnering the most attention for their efficacy in preventing prostate cancer or other cancer. They also appear to have the added benefit of increasing longevity or reducing all-cause mortality. One example is the Mediterranean diet, which consists largely of fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains, olive oil, and chicken and seafood (lean sources of protein). A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies of the Mediterranean diet found that the highest adherence to this diet was significantly associated with a lower risk of mortality from prostate cancer (risk ratio 0.96, 95% confidence index 0.92–1.00), as well as several other cancers. [12]

This is not meant to imply that a Mediterranean diet offers the only route to heart-healthy changes. Rather, there are numerous dietary patterns that promote improvement in parameters such as blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and weight/waist size, and arguably could impact prostate cancer incidence. The patient's personal preferences and likelihood of adherence should help guide the decision of which pattern to follow. This is especially relevant when discussing weight loss and obesity.

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