Wednesday January 29, 2020

Death Rates from Prostate Cancer have Declined in Dozens of Countries: Study

Only four of the countries surveyed, including Bulgaria, saw an increased incidence of prostate cancer, it said

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prostate cancer
FILE - Doctors treat a patient with prostate cancer at an operating room in Ramat Aviv Medical Center's Urology department in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 5, 2016. VOA

Death rates from prostate cancer — the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men — have stabilized or declined in dozens of countries since the turn of the century, the American Cancer Society reported Tuesday.

In 33 of 44 countries surveyed, the incidence of prostate cancer had stabilized in the last five years for which data was available — and in seven countries, it was down, the report found.

Only four of the countries surveyed, including Bulgaria, saw an increased incidence of prostate cancer, it said.

“In the most recent five years of data examined, prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates are decreasing or stabilizing in most parts of the world,” the study’s author MaryBeth Freeman said.

prostate cancer
Only four of the countries surveyed, including Bulgaria, saw an increased incidence of prostate cancer, it said. Pixabay

Prostate cancer deaths were down in 14 countries surveyed and stable in 54 others. Only three countries experienced a rise in prostate cancer deaths, according to the study findings, which were presented Tuesday at a conference in Atlanta.

The United States had the biggest drop in prostate cancers, which Freeman attributed to a decline in the use of a controversial diagnostic test that identified too many non-dangerous tumors.

The incidence of prostate cancers rose in the U.S. during the 1980s and early 1990s when the PSA, or Prostate-Specific Antigen, blood test became widely available.

The test is imprecise, however, and yields too many false positives. It identifies higher than normal levels of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate, which could be a sign of cancer but is more often a symptom of other diseases.

prostate cancer
“In the most recent five years of data examined, prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates are decreasing or stabilizing in most parts of the world,” the study’s author MaryBeth Freeman said. Pixabay

Moreover, some prostate cancers are not aggressive and do not grow enough to pose a risk.

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A false positive, on the other hand, can have harmful consequences for the patient: anxiety, complications linked to biopsies, or anti-cancer treatments.

In 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an expert panel that reviews the effectiveness of preventive clinical services, advised against use of the PSA test.

In 2018, it revised the recommendation to say that taking the test should be an “individual” decision for men 55 to 69. At 70 and after, it advised against its use. (VOA)

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More Vegetable Consumption May Not Cure Prostate Cancer: Study

Although the MEAL study revealed no positive impact on prostate cancer, it did demonstrate that behavioural modification can lead patients to make healthier food choices

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Cancer
According to the researchers, scientific studies have identified a strong role for changing diet to improve outcomes in diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but not in cancer. Pixabay

Patients with prostate cancer assigned to eat seven or more servings of vegetables and fruits daily saw no extra protection from the increased consumption of micronutrients, researchers have found.

Previous studies suggest that foods with high carotenoids have antioxidant properties, which can protect men from prostate cancer. Some of those foods include leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, carrots and tomatoes. However, the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that eating more produce won’t cure, nor stop the disease.

“These data indicate that despite prevailing scientific and public opinion, eating more vegetables will not alter the course of prostate cancer. It will not, to the best of our knowledge, suppress or cure it,” said study researcher J. Kellogg Parsons from University of California.

“However, while eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and getting more exercise may not cure cancer, it may keep the body stronger and healthier, which may help patients tolerate cancer treatments,” Parsons added.

For The Men’s Eating and Living (MEAL) study, researchers enrolled 478 men aged 50 to 80 years at 91 sites in the US. The patients had been diagnosed with early-stage prostate adenocarcinoma and enrolled in an active surveillance programme in which patients defer immediate treatment until the disease advances.

Patients were randomised to a control group that received written information about diet and prostate cancer or to a telephone counselling behavioural intervention programme that encouraged participants to eat foods high in carotenoids, such as leafy greens, carrots and tomatoes, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage.

Both groups were monitored for two years. Patients assigned to the intervention increased their intake of fruits and vegetables to a statistically significant degree, and significantly more than what control patients did. These findings were supported by significant changes in the blood carotenoid levels of the patients.

Cancer
Patients with prostate cancer assigned to eat seven or more servings of vegetables and fruits daily saw no extra protection from the increased consumption of micronutrients, researchers have found. Pixabay

“Nonetheless, these data fail to support prevailing assertions in clinical guidelines and the popular media that diets high in micronutrient-rich vegetables improve cancer-specific outcomes among prostate cancer survivors,” said study researcher James Marshall.

According to the researchers, scientific studies have identified a strong role for changing diet to improve outcomes in diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but not in cancer.

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Although the MEAL study revealed no positive impact on prostate cancer, it did demonstrate that behavioural modification can lead patients to make healthier food choices. (IANS)