The global distribution of prostate cancer is similar to that of breast cancer; countries with high levels of one tend to have high levels of the other. As the Western diet (packed with meat, dairy and processed foods) takes over more traditional diets in developing countries, the number of men with prostate cancer increases.
High consumption of meat (particularly red, processed and well-done meat in general) is associated with the increased risk. It is suggested that cancer-causing chemicals produced in meat cooked at high temperatures are responsible. Fried, roast and grilled chicken can contain particularly high amounts of these.
Dairy foods affect hormone levels in the body and are also strongly linked to prostate cancer. Specifically, people who drink milk have higher levels of the growth hormone IGF-1 than vegans. Many men develop prostate cancer (or benign tumours), but the growth hormone IGF-1 may transform tumours into a more aggressive form of cancer. IGF-1, from cow’s milk, is a risk factor that could easily be avoided by eliminating dairy foods from the diet.
The Prostate Cancer Lifestyle Trial found that patients with early-stage prostate cancer were able to completely avoid or delay conventional treatment for at least two years by following a vegan diet. The results from men who changed their diet to a vegan one and learned some stress management techniques are truly astonishing. Despite the evidence, advice from the NHS on the links between diet and prostate cancer remains sparse.
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