For decades, researchers have been looking for a link between prostate cancer and other health factors such as obesity, smoking, or diet. They don’t have to look very hard. There is a huge amount of evidence that links prostate cancer risk with these and other conditions—making a powerful case for making healthy choices.
But what about health factors that are less easily controlled by lifestyle choices, such as insulin, testosterone levels, cholesterol, and prostate specific antigen (PSA)? Some of these are not so easy to change by switching to the Mediterranean diet, or quitting smoking, etc. If cholesterol were so easy to control, the companies that manufacture statin drugs would take quite a hit.
A new study demonstrates a connection between prostate cancer and insulin, testosterone, PSA and lipid profile (cholesterol).[i] What’s particularly interesting is that the research team compared 95 patients with prostate cancer to 95 cases of men with BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or normal prostate enlargement that occurs with aging). In addition, among the prostate cancer patients the researchers correlated the measured levels with the aggression level, or grade, of the cancer itself.
What they found should give us all pause to think. The prostate cancer patients had “significantly higher levels of insulin, testosterone, PSA, cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) in comparison to their BPH counterparts. Higher levels of these parameters also correlated with a higher grade of the disease.”
As I said earlier, these naturally-occurring substances in our bodies can be difficult to manage by lifestyle alone—but not impossible. There is ample data on the wellness impact of eating more fruits, nuts and vegetables, exercising more, meditating, supplements, etc. There is also new research on statin drugs to control cholesterol may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. (See my blog on this topic at https://sperlingprostatecenter.com/statins-prostate-cancer/ )
Everyone is unique. Some of us are born with higher testosterone levels. Some of us have an innate tendency toward high cholesterol. Even though physical differences abound, what we all have in common is free will and the ability to make good choices. The next time you go for a physical with a complete blood panel, I encourage and invite you to speak with your doctor about the results of your blood test, particularly with regard to the metabolic and other factors that the study identified. If you’re interested, you can read the full article at http://www.apocpcontrol.org/paper_file/issue_abs/Volume15_No22/9841-9846%208.22%20Reshu%20Tewari.pdf
If you have any concerns about your prostate health, including BPH and cancer, keep in mind that our 3T multiparametric MRI can provide a “snapshot” of what’s going on. Meanwhile, embrace a healthy life.
[i] Tewari R, Chhabra M, Natu SM et al. Significant association of metabolic indices, lipid profile, and androgen levels with prostate cancer. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(22):9841-6.