Prostate cancer cholesterol link

Men with high cholesterol levels are more likely to get prostate cancer according to new research published in the Annals of Oncology. Dr Francesca Bravi, lead researcher of this study, found that men with prostate cancer were 50 per cent more likely to have had high cholesterol levels before they were diagnosed with cancer. The importance of this research is that it suggests that people can do something themselves to reduce the chances of getting this disease. Cholesterol levels are determined to a large extent by the diet - diets high in animal protein and saturated animal fats drive up cholesterol levels, while diets containing plenty of soluble fibre help reduce cholesterol. Good sources of soluble fibre include oats, beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, fruit and vegetables. Studies have also shown that replacing animal protein with soya protein reduces blood cholesterol, even when the fat intake remains unchanged. This could explain why rates of prostate cancer in parts of China and Japan are up to 90 per cent less than in the West.

Bravi F, Scotti L, Bosetti C, Talamini R, Negri E, Montella M, Franceschi S, La Vecchia C. 2006. Self-reported history of hypercholesterolaemia and gallstones and the risk of prostate cancer. Annals of Oncology. 17 (6) 1014-1017.