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Tweaking Diet Might Boost Prostate Cancer Survival

Men who subbed vegetable oils, avocados, nuts for animal fats fared better in study

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Denise Mann

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Men with prostate cancer may boost their survival chances if they replace animal fats and carbohydrates in their diet with healthy fats such as olive oils, nuts and avocados, new research suggests.

Men who substituted 10 percent of their daily calories from animal fats and carbs with such healthy fats as olive oil, canola oil, nuts, seeds and avocados were 29 percent less likely to die from spreading prostate cancer and 26 percent less likely to die from any other disease when compared to men who did not make this healthy swap, the study found.

And a little bit seems to go a long way. Specifically, adding just one daily tablespoon of an oil-based salad dressing resulted in a 29 percent lower risk of dying from prostate cancer and a 13 percent lower risk of dying from any other cause, the study contended.

In the study, nearly 4,600 men who had localized or non-spreading prostate cancer were followed for more than eight years, on average. During the study, 1,064 men died. Of these, 31 percent died from heart disease, slightly more than 21 percent died as a result of prostate cancer and slightly less than 21 percent died as a result of another type of cancer.

The findings appeared online June 10 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study can't say for sure that including healthy fats in the diet was responsible for the survival edge seen among men. "The main take-home message is that consuming healthy fats and nuts may have a protective role," said study author Erin Richman, a postdoctoral scholar in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco.

In 2013, there will be nearly 239,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer and nearly 30,000 men will die from the disease, according to estimates from the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

"The next step is to plan a randomized controlled trial of these healthier fats and see whether and how they affect the prostate," Richman said. "The novel finding in this study seems to be a benefit on prostate cancer survival." She noted that there is already a large body of evidence suggesting that healthy fats help reduce heart disease risks.

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