New epidemiology studies have shown that diets rich in fruits and vegetables correlate with a reduced risk for certain kinds of cancer. Victoria Kirsh, a former Yale School of Public Health doctoral student, evaluated the association between such diets and the risk of prostate cancer using data from almost 30,000 men participating in clinical screening trials.
Participants underwent regular prostate exams and fi lled out a dietary questionnaire as part of the study, with follow-up for as long as eight years. The study controlled for lifestyle factors including smoking, exercise, supplemental vitamin use, and diet.
Overall, consumption of fruits and vegetables was not related to a decrease in prostate cancer risk. One exception was having more than one serving of broccoli and cauliflower per day, which correlated with a reduced risk. Increased consumption of such cruciferous and dark green vegetables was also associated with a decreased risk of metastasis.
Now a scientist in the Division of Preventive Oncology of Cancer Care Ontario, Kirsh plans to expand her epidemiology research in diet and cancer.
“We are now trying to corroborate these fi ndings in another population, namely a cohort of alumni from three Canadian universities,” Kirsh says.
The National Cancer Institute estimates that 218,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007; two million American men are living with the disease today.