Men with prostate cancer are as much as seven times less likely to die if they have high levels of the “sunshine vitamin” — vitamin D — according to a new study. click & see
The research looked at 160 patients with prostate cancer who were classified as having either low, medium, or high blood levels of vitamin D. Over the course of the multi-year study, 52 of the patients died of prostate cancer. Low vitamin D levels were found to significantly affect chances of survival.
The study’s authors theorized that since vitamin D has a similar structure to androgen, it might amplify the therapeutic effects of lowering androgen levels and improve the survival chances of men with prostate cancer.
Men with elevated levels of calcium in their blood may have a much higher risk of getting fatal prostate cancer, US researchers said .
The findings indicate that a simple blood test may identify men at high risk for the most dangerous prostate tumors, and there already are drugs available that cut calcium levels in the bloodstream, the researchers said.
They tracked 2,814 men in a US government health survey in which they gave blood samples that revealed calcium levels. The men in the top third of blood calcium levels had 2.68 times the risk of developing fatal prostate cancer later in life compared to those in the bottom third, the study found.
“If serum calcium really does increase your risk for fatal prostate cancer, that’s wonderfully exciting because serum calcium levels can be changed,” Gary Schwartz of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, who helped lead the study, said in a telephone interview.
“One way to think of it is to think of the tremendous advances in the control of cardiovascular disease that occur from understanding that things like serum cholesterol predict heart attack,” Schwartz added.
Doctors have struggled to find ways to predict if a man who gets prostate cancer will have a tumor that poses little danger, as is often the case, or one that is a killer.
Blood calcium was not very predictive of whether a man would get nonlethal prostate cancer, but was highly predictive of whether a man would get a fatal case, the researchers wrote in the American Association for Cancer Research‘s journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The blood samples on average were given a decade before the cancer appeared, the researchers said.
A COMMON CANCER
Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in men worldwide, with about 780,000 men diagnosed per year, and the sixth mostly deadly form in men, with about 250,000 deaths per year, the American Cancer Society said.
Schwartz said it is unclear whether it is the actual calcium or blood levels of parathyroid hormone, which is supposed to keep calcium levels at normal levels in the bloodstream, that is raising the risk. Either way, he said there are drugs that can lower them, including Fontus Pharmaceuticals Inc’s Rocaltrol, also called calcitriol; Genzyme Corp’s Hectorol (doxercalciferol); Abbott Laboratories‘ Zemplar (paricalcitol); and Amgen Inc’s Sensipar (cinacalcet).
People treated for high blood calcium usually have chronic kidney disease, which is associated with low vitamin D levels. Low vitamin D levels elevate parathyroid hormone levels, Schwartz said.
Halcyon Skinner of the University of Wisconsin, who also worked on the study, said there is little relationship between calcium in the diet and blood calcium levels, so these men would not benefit from eating less food rich in calcium.
Previous research had suggested a role for calcium in prostate cancer. In laboratory studies, parathyroid hormone and calcium promote the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Just a few additional portions of broccoli each week could protect men from prostate cancer. Researchers believe a substance called isothiocyanate in the broccoli sparks hundreds of genetic changes, activating some genes that fight cancer and switching off others that fuel tumors.
Prostate cancer kills more men than any other kind except for lung cancer. Each year, 680,000 men worldwide are diagnosed with the disease and about 220,000 will die from it.
How to safeguard yourself from environmental toxins:- The threat: Prostate Cancer.
The problem: About a billion pounds of pesticides are used in the U.S. every year, mostly for agriculture. A 2007 Canadian review connected chemicals in pesticides with prostate-cancer cases.
Why you should care: One in every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
What you can do: Drink red wine. Researchers found that drinking 4 to 7 glasses of red wine a week cuts your prostate-cancer risk by 48 percent.
The threat: Diabetes
The problem: Korean researchers say PCBs, toxic chemical compounds, may increase your diabetes risk. PCBs are banned, but lingering amounts accumulate in fish.
Why you should care: 10.9 million men — nearly 11 percent of those over age 20 — have diabetes. Not only is the disease itself debilitating, but it doubles your stroke risk.
What you can do: Avoid bluefish and summer flounder, both high in PCBs. Swap in black sea bass, mahi-mahi, or skipjack tuna. Andeat fiber, which cuts diabetes risk by 30 percent.
The threat: Skin Cancer
The problem: According to NASA, a 3 percent drop in ozone levels since the early 1980s has damaged the earth’s built-in layer of UVA and UVB protection.
Why you should care: A million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year, and nearly 11,000 people die of the disease. UVB rays penetrate deep into skin cells, damaging the DNA.
What you can do: Give your favorite summer duds a defensive edge with SunGuard detergent, which increases their UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) to 30. ($2, ritsunguard.com)
The Mediterranean Pyramid
The Mediterranean diet begins with the same basis of lots of grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Major differences from the USDA pyramid include:
• Using olive oil as the primary fat
• Allowing for only moderate amounts of milk products
• Using fish and poultry, rather than red meat, as the main source of high protein food from animals
• Including wine with meals
The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruit and vegetables
The diet, reports the British Journal of Cancer, also includes higher amounts of fruits, vegetables, cereals, and less red meat.
A separate study found adding broccoli to meals might help men vulnerable to prostate cancer cut their risk.
The Mediterranean diet came under scrutiny after researchers noticed lower rates of illnesses such as heart disease in countries such as Spain and Greece.
They noticed that people living there generally ate more vegetables and fish, less red meat, cooked in olive oil and drank moderate amounts of alcohol.
The latest study is one of the largest yet to look at the potential impact on cancer of the various parts of this diet.
Researchers from Harvard University persuaded thousands of Greek people of various ages to record their food intake over an eight-year-period.
Their adherence to the Mediterranean diet was ranked using a scoring system, and the group with the worst score compared with those who followed a couple of aspects of the diet, and those who followed it the most closely.
The biggest effect they found – a 9% reduction in risk – was achieved simply by eating more “unsaturated” fats such as olive oil.
But just two changes – eating less red meat, and more peas, beans and lentils, cut the risk of cancer by 12%.
Dr Dimitrios Trichopoulos, who led the study, said: “Adjusting one’s overall dietary habits towards the traditional Mediterranean pattern had an important effect.”
Sara Hiom, from Cancer Research UK, said the research highlighted the importance of a healthy balanced diet.
“It shows there are a number of things you can do, and there is no one ‘superfood’ that can stop you developing the disease” says Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK
The other study suggesting that food had the power to prevent cancer came from the Institute of Food Research in Norwich. Broccoli may help ward off prostate cancer:- CLICK & SEE
Scientists compared the effects of adding 400 grams of broccoli or peas a week to the diet of men at high risk of prostate cancer – and in the case of broccoli found differences in the activity of genes in the prostate which other studies have linked to cancer.
Their findings raised the possibility that broccoli, or other “cruciferous” vegetables, such as cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, could help prevent or slow down the disease, particularly if the man had a particular gene variant – GSTM1.
Professor Richard Mithen, who led the research, published in the Public Library of Science journal, said: “Eating two or three portions of cruciferous vegetables per week, and maybe a few more if you lack the GSTM1 gene – should be encouraged.”
Professor Karol Sikora, medical director of CancerPartnersUK, said the study was the first time in a properly controlled clinical trial that broccoli had been shown to change the expression of specific genes in the prostate gland.
“Although the observation period was too short and the numbers too small to show that the incidence of cancer actually fell, it is the first clear demonstration that broccoli and presumably other cruciferous vegetables may well reduce cancer risk.”