Fat and Prostate Cancer
Last updated: April 2021
Fat is not a topic we talk about, especially when it comes to prostate cancer. In fact, fat is one of the last things we think about, especially as we are eating a burger and fries, or a lobster dipped in butter.
A fact I learned as a Boy Scout: there's so much fat in bacon that you can start a fire with it, and it smells great as you do.
The health impact of fat
The Western diet can contain a lot of fat. One of the challenges the diet poses is that fat can easily build up inside your body. In its own way, it also creates a bit of a fire.
Some studies have suggested that body fat and how it's distributed can feed cancer.1,2,3 At a prostate cancer survivor, the last think I want to do is feed any developing cancers in my body. As visceral fat gathers around your middle, in that all-too-familiar “spare tire look,” the impact on your health and body can get progressively worse.
That spare tire is called visceral fat. As it increases, it can raise your risk for a lot of different diseases including but not limited to dementia, heart disease and more.3 In women it is believed that the excess fat around the middle may increase the risk of women for breast cancer.3
The link to prostate cancer
In 2019, some evidence began to surface indicating the risk of getting an aggressive type of prostate cancer may increase proportionately as your spare tire grows.4
Apparently visceral fat impacts male hormones, including testosterone. It can increase blood pressure and raises the risk of heart attack and stroke due to its ability to churn out inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.5
Researchers found that the risk for prostate cancer goes up the higher your body mass index increases.5 While this information is interesting, apparently it doesn't appear to me that scientists have a good handle on how obesity and the distribution of fat makes men more likely to get prostate cancer and possibly die from it.
The only thing to conclude is … if you find yourself in the “beer belly” category, you may be putting yourself at risk for developing an aggressive prostate cancer. The good news is that you are in control, and if you choose to do so, you can make changes.
The impact of a healthy diet tends to be a longterm solution. That said, no matter what your age may be today, you can make changes now that will impact your future.
Dietary and other changes
If you are overweight, the one thing I would not want to do is stress over it. I think the solution is time, eating smart, and eating fewer carbs and white sugar. In addition to diet, it can be good to practice some stress management techniques, relaxation techniques, and some deep breathing.
Who knows - in the long run, you may not only lose the fat, but may also avoid an aggressive prostate cancer diagnosis in the future.
What influences your decisions when choosing a physician? (Select all that apply)
Join the conversation