Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Diet & Prostate Cancer

Radio 4 have a feature called 'The Food Program'. A recent episode had an interesting angle on 'Diet and Prostate Cancer'. You can listen to this feature here:

  • "Sheila Dillon discusses the latest research linking diet and prostate cancer.
  • Food campaigner Geoff Tansey, diagnosed with prostate cancer a year ago, has kept an audio diary relating his experience of the disease and his quest to discover the effects of diet.
  • Nutritional scientist Professor Margaret Rayman joins Sheila to discuss her findings that show that the health of the prostate can be helped by eating a diet rich in certain foods and avoiding the harmful effects of others.
  • Professor Rayman is joined in the studio by Professor Colin Cooper of the Department of Molecular Biology at the Institute of Cancer Research."

For paleo converts like me, such a link does not cause any surprise. The featured cancer-sufferer lays blame at the door of diet and has quite a compelling experience in support of this.

However, he identifies sugar and red-meat (his daughter is vegetarian which might have influenced his thoughts), as the prime drivers. He also notes a piece of American research he found on the web linking red-meat and cancer which I think might be this story (which Dr Mike Eades handles with his usual skill)!

For me, what is surprising about this edition of The Food Program, is that here we have a program filled with experts from various branches of the cancer 'business' - and they do not seem to be able to agree on the strength of the relationship between diet and cancer.

The NHS - Behind the Headlines site has an interesting angle on this story:

  • "People who ate the greatest amount of processed meat were at significantly greater risk of developing cancer of the bowel or lung. Men who ate the highest amounts of processed meat were at increased risk of pancreatic cancer, but not women. There was also a trend towards an increased risk of bladder cancer and myeloma with higher processed meat consumption, but these differences were small and not statistically significant."

Now the same evidence is available to all participants in 'The Food Program'. They each bring their own interpretation of evidence to the discussion, and they each seem to be aware of the others' position, but still there is no 'join-up'. So if such specialists cannot agree, what hope is there of us mere mortals being directed in the right direction?

I hate it when my posts end up rambling on about the paleo compass.........so here is a link to another superb post by Dr Eades.


AT22 said...

Rambling or not, your point is a good one. It's that mindset - it's been shoved at us for so many years that red-meat and fat are bad and whole grains are good that people have a reallllly hard time letting it go.

And even though the link between sugar and grains and cancer seems to be pretty darn strong (didn't one study show that cancer FEEDS on glucose - remove glucose and the cancer dies), experts won't give in!

"Processed" meat, indeed. It would be helpful if they actually set forth what that meant - I'm sure it doesn't mean a ribeye.

Asclepius said...

You are right. It is the proverbial 'elephant in the room'.

There was a video of Taubes posted recently from last year and he tackled this same point; that researchers, even when the evidence stared them in the face via their own data, fell back to the 'dafault' position of do more, eat less, low fat.

I have posted about guys like DeVaney and MDA - just look at those guys and you can see the benefits of the paleo way. More importantly for me is the proliferation of individual paleo-oriented blogs appearing where people are posting up the fact that paleo does exactly what it says on the tin!