Prostate cancer isn’t the first thing you think of when you go on that new low carb, high fat diet you found online. But if you’re consuming too much yummy, fatty foods, it may prove to be a big mistake down the line.
The New York Times recently reported that consuming too much fat may hasten the pace in which men develop prostate cancer. This is due to fat acting as a catalyst for the cancer cells to metastasize. Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have attributed this to the link between prostate cancer and obesity. By testing this theory on mice, the research team found that blocking fat from their diets helped to stall the spread cancer.
“What this paper suggests is that fat or high-fat diets promote more aggressive prostate cancer,” said Cory Abate-Shen, interim director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University, who was not involved with the research.
Prostate cancer develops when it loses a gene called PTEN. But the reason why fat is a factor in the spread of this cancer is due to the loss of a second gene called PML. It’s explained that the when PML is shut down, fat production begins, and this could be what leads to fuelling the spread of the cancerous cells.
The results from this test show promise, and trials are now being considered for men to undergo treatment by taking a drug that fights against obesity.
Of course, this creates a dilemma – if fat is really that bad, then shouldn’t we just cut it out from our diet?
It’s not so simple. Fat is still important in our regular diets, and it’s not certain what types of dietary fats accelerate the risk of prostate cancer.
“You cannot just say, ‘Don’t eat fat,’” Dr. Pier Paolo Pandolfi, lead research author and director of the Cancer Center and Cancer Research Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess said.
Just remember, fat can be good, but it’s always possible to have too much of a good thing.
By Gilbert Wong, Men’s Health Content Producer