Numerous studies have linked red meat with prostate cancer. Recent research suggests that how meat is cooked may also be a factor. One of the latest studies associates pan-fried meat with a significant increase in the risk of prostate cancer.
Red meat and prostate cancer
Previous studies have associated diets high in red meat with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Recent research shows that cooking meat at high temperatures forms powerful carcinogens that may increase prostate cancer risk even more.
A team of scientists from the University of Southern California and Cancer Prevention Institute of California found that red meats cooked at high temperatures, especially pan-fried red meats, may increase the risk of advanced prostate cancer by as much as 40 percent.
The study, available online in the journal Carcinogenesis, gathered data from about 2,000 men who completed a questionnaire about their red meat cooking and consumption habits. A little over 1,000 of the participants had been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.
According to the findings, men in the study who ate more than 1.5 servings of pan-fried meat a week were 30 percent more likely to have advanced prostate cancer those who said they rarely ate it. Men eating more than 2.5 servings of red meat, whether it was pan-fried, grilled or broiled, had a 40 percent increased risk of developing the disease.
Hamburger the worst
On the plus side, men who ate more baked poultry had lower prostate cancer risk. But once the poultry was pan-fried, the risk increased. Of all the pan-fried red meats contributing to prostate cancer, hamburger had the strongest association. Researchers speculated that hamburger accumulates higher levels of carcinogens because ground beef gets hotter and cooks faster than steak.
HCAs and PAHs
The USC study did not determine a cause and effect relationship between pan-fried meat and prostate cancer. But it is known that carcinogens known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) form when the sugars and amino acids in meat are cooked at high temperatures. Grilling meat possibly adds to the risk factor, because smoke that rises when fat drips on the flames leaves deposits of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), another potent carcinogen, on the meat.
Avoid prostate cancer
Prostate cancer affects one out of six men in the U.S. About one in 36 men die from the disease, making it second only to lung cancer as the leading cancer killer, according to the American Cancer Society.
The facts about red meat, HCAs and PAHs may be hard to swallow during the summer barbecue season. But avoiding pan-fried red meat and poultry is a fairly easy and inarguably sensible approach to lowering the risk of developing prostate cancer.