According to recent statistics, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, excluding skin cancer. Over 200,000 new cases of prostate cancer have been diagnosed in the United States in 2012 and over 30,000 deaths occur every year, making it the second leading cause of cancer death in men. Studies are now linking an increased prostate cancer risk with the consumption of pan fried meat.
Symptoms and Prostate Cancer Risk
The early stages of prostate cancer are often asymptomatic. In the advanced stages of prostate cancer, the symptoms manifest as difficulty urinating, a need to urinate frequently and urgently and blood in the urine. The cancer can spread to the bone, kidneys, brain, or even spinal cord.
In terms of risk factors, researchers believe that all men are at risk to develop prostate cancer and this risk increases with age, family history, race, and possibly testosterone treatment.
Prostate Cancer Risk From Pan Fried Meat
Until recently, little has been known about the link relationship between eating pan fried meat and increased prostate cancer risk. A September 2012 study involving almost two thousand men showed that eating red meat cooked at high temperature on a regular basis may dramatically raise the risk of getting prostate cancer.
Associate Professor Mariana Stern, MD, and her team from the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California asked the participants of the study to complete a comprehensive questionnaire and include the amount of meat consumed as well as the cooking technique. More than 50%, or over one thousand men, were already diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The authors of this study indicate that men who consumed more than 2.5 servings of red meat cooked at high temperature or more than 1.5 servings of pan-fried meat, 40% and 30% respectively, were more likely to have advanced prostate cancer. The pan frying meat method was associated consistently with prostate cancer, being an independent factor, without considering the type of meat consumed.
The same authors had previously found that cooking fish at high temperature and pan frying also raised the risk of prostate cancer. They hypothesize that cooking the meat at high temperature may cause the formation of carcinogens, known as heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These cancer producing substances are produced during cooking and are responsible for damaging DNA and support the occurrence of cancerous tumors. Based on these studies, Dr. Stern suggests that the result of their studies “support a role for carcinogens that accumulate in meats cooked at high temperatures as potential prostate cancer risk factors.”
Preventing Prostate Cancer
The prostate cancer risk factor of a man’s age can not be reversed so we must look at the other risk factors and how to minimize them. Meat should not be consumed raw, to avoid risk of infections. It is not healthy to cook it at very high heat or pan fry either, as the study indicates. What you can do is to avoid the consumption of red meat and also to decrease the overall consumption of meat by adding more proteins and fats of plant origin such as beans, seeds and olive oil. If you must consume meat, it would be better to cook it slowly at a low temperature.
I highly recommend an annual digital rectal examination by your doctor as well as an annual PSA test. If you have any of the symptoms described above, you should see a doctor immediately who may suggest an ultrasound and, if needed, a biopsy.