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Consumption Of Red Meat, Dairy May Increase Cancer Risk

First Posted: Jun 01, 2015 09:13 PM EDT

Researchers at Harvard University have found a link between the consumption high-fat dairy foods, red meat and an increased risk of cancer. To counteract the problem, they suggest eating more vegetables, fruits, fish, whole grains and healthy oils.

"There is currently very little evidence to counsel men living with prostate cancer on how they can modify their lifestyle to improve survival. Our results suggest that a heart-healthy diet may benefit these men by specifically reducing their chances of dying of prostate cancer," Jorge Chavarro, senior author of the study, said in a statement.

For the study, researchers looked at the health and diet information on 926 men participating in the Physicians' Health Study I and II who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The participants were followed for an average of 14 years following their diagnosis, grouping them into quartiles based on whether they followed a Western diet that is typically higher in red meat and dairy or a more "prudent" options, composed of healthier choices, like vegetables, fish, legumes, fruits and whole grains.

Findings revealed that men who ate from the Western diet where more than twice as likely to get prostate cancer, and had a 67 percent increased risk of death from any cause. In fact, 333 men died, with 56 deaths specifically attributed to prostate cancer. On the other hand, those who ate a more "prudent" diet had a 36 percent lower risk of death from all causes.

More information regarding the findings can be seen via the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

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