Effect of Lifestyle on Prostate Cancer

There have been several recent articles on the impact of lifestyle changes on prostate cancer in the medical literature that have attracted wider notice and been amplified in the lay media. One example is this recently published study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (Volume 108, Issue 3, 10.1093/jnci/djv329) by researchers working at highly regarded institutions:

Development and Application of a Lifestyle Score for Prevention of Lethal Prostate Cancer

Authors: Stacey A. Kenfield*, Julie L. Batista*, Jaquelyn L. Jahn, Mary Kathryn Downer, Erin L. Van Blarigan, Howard D. Sesso, Edward L. Giovannucci, Meir J. Stampfer and June M. Chan

I have asked for permission to reproduce the article here. In the meantime I will summarize the key findings. 

The most important finding is the conclusion: relatively simple lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on reducing the chance of mortality due to aggressive PCa.

Here are the details.

The authors studied the combined effect of several lifestyle factors known to have association with risk of lethal prostate cancer. They developed what they call a lifestyle score for prevention of lethal prostate cancer based on a statistical analysis of the habits of two large cohorts of men. Each man was rated with a score of 1 to 6 based on adherence to the following lifestyle factors:

  • non-smoking
  • body mass index normal
  • vigorous physical activity (min. 3 hrs/week)
  • high intake of tomatoes
  • high intake of fatty fish
  • low intake of processed meat. 

Bottom line: men who scored the highest had a reduced chance of dying from aggressive PCa vs. those who scored lowest.

The single most important factor was vigorous physical activity. Other articles have hypothesized that vigorous activity is linked to another thought to be beneficial factor - improved insulin sensitivity.

Not only does this help reduce serum glucose levels ("starving the tumor"), but also reduces the amount of insulin in the blood. High insulin levels are particularly associated with risk of aggressive prostatic tumours (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20126849).

A very good article on exercise to reduce lethal PCa risk (that also links to the JNCI article) is: http://drgeo.com/lifestyle-exercise-prevents-deadly-prostate-cancer-a-new-study/.