Men: if you’re partial to sipping your favorite soda, be aware that according to a 15-year study just one fizzy drink a day might raise your chances of developing aggressive prostate cancer.
The study, carried out by Swedish scientists, tracked the health of more 8,000 men aged 45-73 over a 15 year span. All were screened prior to the study’s commencement to ensure they were all in relatively the same good health. Participants were made to track their daily eating habits. At the end of the study this data was analyzed.
What the scientists discovered was quite alarming. Those men who on average drank just one 330-millilitre soft drink a day appeared 40 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Noteworthy too, that the cancer was not picked up during standard screening but was diagnosed after the participants showed symptoms of prostate problems, including having difficulty passing urine.
The study showed other possible links between certain foods and increased cancer risk.
Thirty-one percent of subjects who ate large quantities of rice and pasta develop a milder form of prostate cancer, while those who frequently ate cakes, biscuits and sugary breakfast cereals went on to develop nonfatal prostate cancers at a rate 38 percent higher than their counterparts. Interestingly, no risk association was found when it came to high fruit juice consumption.
The researchers stressed that one of the most important factors in risk-association was genetics. However, they noted this research would appear to suggest that dietary factors could play a stronger role than previously thought in terms of men developing prostate cancer.
The researchers, however, did not examine directly which men had a genetic predisposition to prostate cancer and then differentiate test subjects on that basis and examine their health outcomes. This will be a task for further study.
Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, is quoted as being cautious about ascribing cancer-causing status in this manner: ”We cannot be certain whether any particular dietary pattern has a significant impact on a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer but it is highly unlikely that any single food source will lead to an increased chance of developing the disease.”
Prostate cancer is among the most common cancers in men. It is estimated that some 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the US this year, with 28,170 men dying of prostate cancer by the end of 2012. Prostate cancer accounts for a quarter of all newly diagnosed cancers in men, however most won’t develop prostate cancer until they are 70 or older. Prostate cancer remains fairly rare in those below 40.
There are of course plenty of other reasons to drop soft drinks from your diet. Previous studies have found that soft drinks–and in particular their high concentrations of sugar–may cause increased heart disease risk, an elevated stroke risk, the potential for long-term liver damage, increased rates of diabetes and more.
Maybe just a glass of water then?
Image credit: Thinkstock.