Diet

Does Consuming Milk Increase Your Risk For Prostate Cancer?

The prostate gland is essentially part of the male reproductive system. It is responsible for producing prostate fluids. This fluid is combined with sperm, which results in a substance known as semen.

Cancer is a disease that can affect any part of the body. This includes the prostate gland. Cancer in the prostate gland can cause many adverse effects.

In some cases, the cancer is mild and something that can be easily treated. There are, however, cases of more advanced prostate cancer. In these scenarios, cancer can spread to other parts of the body. In turn, it can quickly turn into a life-threatening situation.

Don’t be surprised to know that prostate cancer has now become one of the major causes of deaths worldwide. Deaths from prostate cancer have become increasingly common among American males. According to the American Cancer Society1, in 2017 alone, there were reportedly 161,360 new cases. About 26,730 deaths were caused by prostate cancer.

What Is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is the development of cancerous cells within a man’s prostate gland. Prostate cancer risk is determined by several factors. Some people have a higher chance of developing the condition than others.
Both severe and mild cases of prostate cancer exist.

There are many cases where prostate cancer is localized to the gland itself. In these situations, the prostate cancer is often not considered to be a significantly severe condition. Treatment is easier with localized prostate cancer. In some cases, watchful waiting may even be advised.

There are other cases where prostate cancer becomes a more pressing concern. This is generally the case in a patient with metastatic prostate cancer. This refers to prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

The prostate gland is not the only body part affected by the cancerous cells. Sometimes, organs and tissue in a close perimeter to the prostate gland may be affected. There are also cases where cancer spreads further throughout the body.

Treatment becomes significantly more difficult in a patient with metastatic prostate cancer2. In an advanced stage, treatment will generally focus on providing relief of symptoms. This can help the patient experience a slight elevation in the quality of life for the time being.

What Causes Prostate Cancer?

There isn’t a specific answer to a question about what causes prostate cancer. Researchers have not yet identified a particular cause. Some factors related to prostate cancer have been discovered, however.

Researchers have found that cells in the patient’s prostate tend to become abnormal. This is essentially what causes prostate cancer to start developing3. The DNA of these cells become mutated. These DNA mutations cause the cells to grow at a rapid rate.

The cells will also rapidly divide. The mutated cells will also have a longer lifespan than other cells. As normal cells in the prostate die, these mutated cells continue to live. Mainly, this causes the cells to become cancerous. The cancerous cells then lead to the development of a tumor.

It is not known exactly why this happens to some men. There are a few risk factors that have been identified. These risk factors increase the man’s likeliness of developing prostate cancer.

Some of the risk factors that men should take note of include:

  • Genetics plays a role – certain genetic factors seem to increase the patient’s chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

  • Men with a family history of prostate cancer have a higher risk of developing the condition themselves.

  • The race also seems to play a role. Those who are of African-American race have an increased risk of prostate cancer.

  • Taller men also seem to be at a higher risk for the disease. Taller men also have a higher risk of developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

  • Men who take too much calcium, either through diet or supplement, may also be exposed to a higher risk of prostate cancer.

There is another factor to be considered. This would be exposed to a substance called Agent Orange.

While exposure has been minimized in modern times, there are still men who have been exposed to Agent Orange a few decades ago. These men are more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer too4.

How Does Diet Affect Prostate Cancer?

One article explains how the western-style diet is contributing to prostate cancer. The article focuses on male population5. The authors include Pao-Hwa Lin, William Aronson, and Stephen J Freedland.

Fat & Cholesterol

Excessive consumption of saturated fats increases the risk of prostate cancer. Especially, animal-based fats are more harmful to patients. Allott and coauthors6 have established how saturated fat can aggravate the chances of this deadly disease.

Another article7 also describes the adverse effects of dietary fat. Authors of the paper include Laurence N. Kolonel and a few colleagues. Dietary fat is mentioned as a risk factor for prostate cancer in the study.

The study focuses on different types of dietary fat. The researchers mention animal fats and milk-based products. Margarine, butter, and cheese are also mentioned. Other products mentioned include bakery products. Men should also learn about foods that are generally high in cholesterol and saturated fats.

Carbohydrate

A large portion of dietary carbohydrate is associated with higher serum insulin level in the blood. Lowering carbohydrate intake can also reduce the chances of prostate cancer.

Mavropoulos et al., in their article8, emphasized the importance of low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets (LCKDs).

Robert C. Atkins recommends consuming 20g carbohydrates daily, and he warns against excessive consumption in the initial stages. Later, as he added, a patient may increase consumption, but it should not be more than 100g daily.

β-carotene

The role of beta-carotene in the development of prostate cancer is controversial. There are a few studies that show a link. It has been suggested that high levels of beta-carotene could increase the risk of this disease.

One research analysis found such potential evidence. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Washington. Ulrike Peters, Ph.D., and colleagues performed the study. High carotenoid content in the body was linked to adverse health effects.

This means men should also be concerned about their intake of b-carotene. It may increase their chance of developing the disease.

Does Dairy Increase Your Risk Of Prostate Cancer?

Concern has been raised regarding an increased risk of prostate cancer among men who consume dairy products9. Cow’s milk and other dairy products are all factors that men are concerned about.

It is important to note that such a discovery has been made previously. There are several factors in dairy products that may elevate the risk of prostate cancer.

Insulin-like growth factor found in most dairy products is one of the first factors that researchers are concerned about. This is a hormone. Dairy products also contain calcium and saturated fats. The saturated fat content contributes to weight gain. There are also some links between saturated fats and prostate cancer.

Thus, several factors related to dairy intake might contribute to an increased risk of prostate cancer. At the same time, it is important to note that a man using dairy products is not guaranteed to develop prostate cancer. This is only one of the many risk factors that should be taken into consideration.

Just like dairy, several other dietary products have similar links to prostate cancer. This includes processed meats. Red meat products, including beef, hold similar links to prostate cancer.

The ideal solution would be to limit the intake of dairy foods.

Alternatives To Dairy?

There are several alternative products to dairy. Men who are concerned about their risk of cancer should consider adding these to their diet. This helps to reduce the effects of dairy on the prostate. It also ensures the man can continue enjoying products that are similar to dairy.

Several plant based kinds of milk are available. This includes almond, rice, hemp seed, coconut, and soy milk. All of these are excellent substitutions for cow’s milk.

There are also many soy-based yogurt products available. These can taste great without containing any type of dairy. A few coconut-based yogurt products are also available.

There are a few dairy-free butter options too. These will generally be promoted as vegan-friendly butter. It is important to look at the ingredients label, however. Some of the vegan-friendly butter is loaded with trans fats.

How Can You Reduce Your Risk Of Prostate Cancer Through Diet?

Diet plays a role in the well-being of the entire human body. This includes the prostate gland among the male population. Men with poor dieting habits have an increased risk of developing certain conditions. A poor diet tends to consist of saturated fats and sugar-based foods.

The high consumption of these foods leads to an increase in free radicals. This causes damage to the prostate gland. In turn, cells may become cancerous.

We take a closer look at some effective strategies that men can use below. These strategies have been shown to possibly reduce the risk of prostate cancer. It may also be helpful to prevent the disease from developing into advanced prostate cancer.

Keep weight in a healthy range

Obesity is a condition that increases the risk of many health problems. Some of these health problems affect the prostate gland. There is evidence that links adipose tissue to benign prostatic hyperplasia. Adipose tissue refers to the fat content in the body. An increase in adipose tissue causes a higher risk of BPH.

There are various suggested reasons for this mechanism of action. A higher estrogen-to-androgen ratio is one of the possible reasons. Obese people also have more inflammation in their bodies. This is another factor that could contribute to the increased risk.

A reduction in weight could improve prostate health. It may also help to reduce the risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Obese men who lose weight could also have a lower risk of prostate cancer.

Drink green tea

Green tea is more than a weight loss ingredient found in dietary supplements; it is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink. The tea is abundant in antioxidants that protect the body from oxidative damage. Men can greatly benefit from green tea due to the fact it protects their prostate from cancer.

A study from the Cancer Research found that green tea inhibits cancer growth, but catechins (powerful antioxidant compounds) also promote normal prostate size and reduce the risk of BPH and improve urinary function.

Exercise regularly

Physical activity keeps your entire body healthy, and that also includes your prostate. Scientists from Harvard explain that active men are less likely to suffer from BPH. Even low-to-moderate exercises protect you from an enlarged prostate.

Moreover, men who do aerobics regularly experience the lower intensity of prostatitis pain, less anxiety and depression, and better quality of life. Besides decreased BPH risk and benefits for prostatitis treatment, exercise is beneficial for men with prostate cancer. Not only can it reduce the cancer risk, but it also decreases mortality among men who are diagnosed with severe disease.

Get more vitamin D

Vitamin D, or the sunshine vitamin, is essential for male sexual and reproductive health. Evidence shows that supplementation with vitamin D has the potential to slow or reverse the progression of less aggressive or low-grade prostate tumors.

Sufficient levels of this micro-nutrient also reduce the likelihood of getting BPH, and it can help with prostatitis as well. Since most of us don’t obtain the recommended values of vitamin D through diet, supplementation is a viable solution.

Manage stress

Even though we usually ignore stress and hope it will go away on its own, it can only cause more problems. Stress that is left unresolved has a big influence on every aspect of your health, including the prostate.

There is a strong connection between stress and BPH due to its impact on hormonal balance and the release of adrenaline, which stimulates smooth muscle cells in the prostate and bladder. When muscle cells contract, urethra narrows, thus preventing the bladder from emptying entirely.

Dietary supplements

The intake of dietary supplements is an easy way to support prostate health. These products are made of natural ingredients, mainly herbs, plants, and vitamins, to support the proper functioning of the gland. In order to get the most out of dietary supplements, you have to be careful about the products you buy.

Always check the list of ingredients to make sure you’re not allergic to any compound, check the manufacturer’s claim, and avoid all products that promise miraculous solutions without evidence. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables also contains many essential vitamins and minerals.

Conclusion

Prostate cancer can become a serious disease that holds life-threatening complications. Several treatment options are available. Men also need to understand how their risk of the disease can be reduced. Some links between milk and prostate cancer exist.

Men are sometimes advised to reduce their dairy consumption. In turn, the risk of prostate cancer could potentially be reduced too. Several alternatives to dairy exist. A plant-based diet, along with the right foods and lifestyle factors, could act as a prevention to developing prostate cancer.

Sources

  1. American Cancer Society. Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer. [online] Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
  1. Australian Prescriber. (2018) Medical management of metastatic prostate cancer. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6202297/
  2. Mayo Clinic. Prostate cancer. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6202297/
  3. Prostate Cancer Foundation. (2017) Agent Orange and Prostate Cancer. [online] Available at: https://www.pcf.org/c/agent-orange-prostate-cancer/
  4. BMC Medicine. (2015) Nutrition, dietary interventions, and prostate cancer: the latest evidence. [online] Available at: https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-014-0234-y
  5. Prostate Cancer Clinical Research. (2017) Saturated fat intake and prostate cancer aggressiveness: results from the population-based North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project. [online] Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/pcan201639
  6. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. (1999) Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: Current Status. [online] Available at: https://academic.oup.com/jnci/article/91/5/414/2549334
  7. ResearchGate. (2006) Is there a role for a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in the management of prostate cancer? [online] Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6942208_Is_there_a_role_for_a_low-carbohydrate_ketogenic_diet_in_the_management_of_prostate_cancer
  8. PhysiciansCommittee. Prostate Cancer. [online] Available at: https://www.pcrm.org/health-topics/prostate-cancer

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