High Cholesterol Tied to Prostate Cancer
A study of nearly 3,000 Italian men found a direct relationship between cholesterol levels and prostate cancer risk. Men over the age of 65 with prostate cancer were 80 percent more likely to have high cholesterol, compared with men who did not have prostate cancer. Men under 65 with prostate cancer were 32 percent more likely to have high cholesterol. The researchers note that male hormones that play a role in prostate cancer are synthesized from cholesterol. However, the relationship could also be indirect since the dietary components responsible for increasing a prostate cancer risk (such as high-fat meat and dairy products) also tend to increase the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. The same steps that lower cholesterol may also lower prostate cancer risk.
Bravi F, Scotti L, Bosetti C, et al. Self-reported history of hypercholesterolaemia and gallstones and the risk of prostate cancer. Ann Oncol. 2006;17(6):1014-1017.
Soy Food Consumption Lowers Breast Cancer Risk
A new study shows that soybean products may reduce breast cancer risk. A meta-analysis conducted at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine examined the combined results of 18 prior studies on soy exposure and breast cancer risk published between 1978 and 2004. The analysis found that among all women, high soy intake lowered breast cancer risk by 14 percent. The protective effect was particularly strong for premenopausal women. Many factors play a role in breast cancer incidence, including late age at first full-term pregnancy, early menarche, obesity, lack of physical activity, alcohol consumption, and other nutritional factors. Soy consumption during childhood and puberty may also play a role in reducing breast cancer risk.
Trock BJ, Hilakivi-Clarke L, Clarke R. Meta-analysis of soy intake and breast cancer risk. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006;98:459-71.
Extra Belly Weight Increases Colon Cancer Risk in Women
Extra body fat is linked to increased risk for colon cancer. In an Australian study following 24,072 women for 10 years, those with the most abdominal fat were more likely than thinner women to develop colon cancer. Every four inches of extra abdominal girth increased risk by 14 percent. Other research has shown that the best way to lose weight (or to maintain a healthy weight) is to follow a diet built from whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruit.
Macinnis RJ, English DR, Hopper JL, Gertig DM, Haydon AM, Giles GG. Body size and composition and colon cancer risk in women. Int J Cancer. 2006;118:1496-500.
The Cancer Project is a nonprofit PCRM subsidiary that advances cancer prevention and survival through nutrition education and research.