Do you think you are at risk of developing prostate cancer? Healthy living can reduce the odds of contracting a fatal disease

Do you think you are at risk of developing prostate cancer?  Healthy living can reduce the odds of contracting a fatal disease

Written by Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter

(health day)

MONDAY, July 11, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Genes can put some men at risk for prostate cancer, but a new study suggests they can undo much of that potential harm through a healthy lifestyle.

The researchers found that among men at increased genetic risk of developing prostate cancer, those who maintained a healthy lifestyle were less likely to die from the disease over the course of nearly three decades.

“Healthy” means that they exercise regularly, refrain from smoking, reduce weight and prefer fish over processed meat.

Men who achieved these goals had a 1.6% lifetime risk of dying from prostate cancer. The researchers found that compared to a 5.3% chance among their peers of having unhealthy habits.

However, healthy habits do not appear to protect men from developing prostate cancer in the first place, noted lead researcher Dr. Adam Cable.

They may instead reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer, according to Kepel, MD, chief of urology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Prostate cancer is very common: One in eight men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). But cancer often grows slowly, and may never progress to the point of threatening a man’s life: only 1 in 41 men die of prostate cancer.

Therefore, although men may not be able to eliminate their risk of disease, lifestyle may be important in the aggressiveness of cancer.

“One way to look at it is that an unhealthy lifestyle may be fueling the fire,” Cable said.

The study was recently published online in the journal European Urology, involving more than 12,000 men from two long-term research projects. All were health professionals who, as of the 1980s, completed periodic questionnaires about their health and lifestyle habits. They also gave blood samples, so that their genetic data could be analyzed.

Prostate cancer has a significant genetic component, and more than 200 genetic variants have been linked to a higher risk of developing the disease. Cable and colleagues used this information to assign each participant a “polygenic risk score” for their odds of developing prostate cancer.

Each man also scored a healthy lifestyle score, scoring one point for each of the six factors: keeping his weight below the permissible limit for obesity. doing vigorous exercise regularly, such as jogging; not smoking and eating fatty fish regularly (eg salmon); Eat tomato products and limit processed meat. In particular, studies have linked these three dietary habits to a reduced risk of prostate cancer or death from disease.

Over the course of 27 years, more than 3,000 men developed prostate cancer, and 435 of them died from it. Genes made a big difference: The researchers found that men with genetic risk scores in the top 25% were four times more likely to die from the disease, versus those in the lowest 25%, the researchers found.

But for those same men, lifestyle had a huge impact, too. Those who stuck to at least four of the six healthy lifestyle factors cut their odds of dying from prostate cancer by 45%, versus men who stick to little or nothing.

Of all the lifestyle habits, Keppel said, exercise appears to be the most important, followed by maintaining a healthy weight.

The results don’t prove that those healthy habits, in and of themselves, saved some men’s lives. But Dr. William Dahout, chief scientific officer of the American Academy of Medicine, called the results “encouraging.”

“What’s interesting is that a healthy lifestyle may not reduce the risk of prostate cancer, but it may reduce the risk of fatal prostate cancer — which is even more important,” said Dahout, who was not involved in the study.

In the real world, men wouldn’t know the degree of polygenic risk, but both doctors said that could change in the coming years.

Currently, men can sense some genetic risk based on family history, although that’s not the full story, Dahut said. According to the ACS, having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing the disease.

Based on the latest findings, Cable said he suspects that a healthy lifestyle will help reduce excess risks associated with family history.

There was no evidence that lifestyle changes increased the risk of fatal prostate cancer among men at lower genetic risk. This may be because so few of these men have died of disease – making it difficult for any lifestyle measure to show an effect, Kepel said.

However, there are plenty of reasons for men’s prostate cancer to adopt healthy habits, both doctors said.

“People are generally happier when they are in good physical shape,” Kepel noted.

He also encouraged the men to learn about their family’s medical history. While women usually have a good sense of this, Kepel said, he’s found that male patients usually don’t know if any of their relatives have had prostate cancer.

SOURCES: Adam Cable, MD, chair of urology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, professor of urology, Harvard Medical School, Boston; William Dahout, MD, chief scientific officer, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; European UrologyMay 28, 2022, online

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