SSM Health Medical Minute – Advanced, fatal prostate cancer linked to diet

Medical Minute

ST. CHARLES, Mo. – Diets that promote hyperinsulinemia and inflammation may increase the risk for aggressive prostate cancer.

The study noted that higher levels of insulin and inflammation are interrelated biologic pathways that link diet with the risk for several cancers, with some evidence suggesting that these may also increase prostate cancer.

Hyperinsulinemia may promote tumor progression directly through insulin receptors or regulation of insulin-like growth factors and their binding proteins, which are involved in cell proliferation and survival, the investigators explained.

Dr. Kevin Enger, a urologist with SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital – St. Charles, says prostate cancer is the most common solid organ cancer in men. More than 35,000 men die of prostate cancer each year. Screening through prostate-specific antigen (PSA) measures the level of PSA in the blood and can be an indicator in addition to age and race. Some prostate glands make more PSA than others.

Dr. Enger says a healthy diet and, even more focused, a Mediterranean diet made up of fish, legumes, raw nuts, broccoli, cauliflower and healthy fruits, can help avoid inflammation and insulin in the diet.

Men should not be screened unless they have received this information. The discussion about screening should take place at:

  • Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
  • Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father or brother) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
  • Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).

If no prostate cancer is found as a result of screening, the time between future screenings depends on the results of the PSA blood test:

  • Men who choose to be tested who have a PSA of less than 2.5 ng/mL may only need to be retested every 2 years.
  • Screening should be done yearly for men whose PSA level is 2.5 ng/mL or higher.

Because prostate cancer often grows slowly, men without symptoms of prostate cancer who do not have a 10-year life expectancy should not be offered testing since they are not likely to benefit. Overall health status, and not age alone, is important when making decisions about screening.

To learn more about Prostate Health, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on News 11 at 7 p.m. and FOX 2 News at 9 p.m.

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