Dietary fat reduction to reduce prostate cancer risk: controlled enthusiasm, learning a lesson from breast or other cancers, and the big picture.Urology 2002; 59(4 Suppl 1):51-62U
Breast and prostate cancer share similar intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors. Based on laboratory, ecologic/international comparison, and case-control studies, the impact of dietary fat or other fat subtypes has been suggested as a potential route to reduce risk. Recent large-scale prospective studies have failed to find an association between fat and breast cancer risk. These studies may provide some insight for researchers examining the relation between fat and prostate cancer. Prospective studies to date have also failed to find a consistent association between prostate cancer and fat intake. Some fat subtypes (eg, saturated fat) or other lifestyle changes (eg, obesity, physical activity) may affect risk and progression of these cancers when examining the sum total of the research, but more precise and specific investigations in humans are needed to address these issues. Other concerns, such as the impact of excess energy or overall caloric consumption on carcinogenesis, still need to be addressed, as well as other methodologic limitations of past investigations. Large gaps exist in environmental (eg, diet, lifestyle) and heritable causes of these diseases. Regardless, until more extensive research is completed, lifestyle changes should be recommended based on reducing morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease-the number 1 cause of death in the United States. Additionally, cardiovascular disease remains the number 1 or 2 cause of death in patients diagnosed with breast or prostate cancer. Practical and simple dietary changes should be encouraged by health professionals because they could improve the overall longevity and quality of patients' lives. Numerous ongoing prospective studies of diet and cancer should provide researchers and the public with much-needed answers in this area.