Meat raises prostate cancer risk – really?
7th October 2008
Today the BBC posted an article on their website entitled “Meat ‘ups prostate cancer risk’” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7655405.stm
I am sure there are plenty of men out there with a family history of prostate cancer, who will be sitting there contemplating cutting out meat and dairy products from their diet. This in itself has implications on health as meat provides protein as well as iron and a variety of B vitamins, and dairy products are an excellent source of calcium among other nutrients. If these nutrients are not consumed from some other source a risk of deficiency develops.
What is more concerning, however is I’m not sure the report actually makes the link between diet and increased risk of prostate cancer. Admittedly I haven’t been able to read the full text of the report, however the abstract (http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/abstract/149/7/461) doesn’t even mention the word ‘diet’! It simply says that “(H)igh circulating IGF-I concentrations are associated with a moderately increased risk for prostate cancer”.
The BBC itself states “(L)ead researcher Dr Andrew Roddam said the degree to which diet influenced IGF-1 levels was unclear. But he said levels could be up to 15% higher in people who ate a lot of meat and dairy products.” If we read the first half of this quote again we can see that the lead researcher says they are not sure how much diet affects the levels of this hormone. So surely the BBC headline is a bit misleading – the study hasn’t actually proved a link……