Fried Meat May Boost Prostate Cancer Risk
How a man cooks his dinner may affect his risk for prostate cancer. Pan-frying red meat at high temperatures creates cancer-causing chemicals, something that doesn't happen when meat is broiled or grilled.
When looking at data from a prostate cancer study, researchers at the University of Southern California and the Cancer Prevention Institute of California found that men who ate more than 1.5 servings of pan-fried red meat per week increased their risk for advanced prostate cancer by 30 percent.
"In addition, men who ate more than 2.5 servings of red meat cooked at high temperatures were 40 percent more likely to have advanced prostate cancer," says study leader Mariana Stern, Ph.D.
Hamburgers, in particular, were linked to an increased risk for prostate cancer. The risk was greatest among Hispanic men.
Dr. Stern speculates that these findings are because hamburgers can contain higher levels of carcinogens. Both the internal and external cooking temperatures rise faster for a hamburger than for a steak.
Men who ate mostly baked poultry had a lower risk for advanced prostate cancer. Those who ate pan-fried poultry had a greater risk for the disease. Researchers concluded that diets rich in pan-fried meat or poultry of any kind may increase men's risk for prostate cancer.
They believe that heterocyclic amines - DNA-damaging carcinogens - are formed during the cooking process and may be to blame for the higher risk.
These cancer-causing chemicals are formed when sugars and amino acids are cooked at higher temperatures for longer periods of time.
Dr. Stern says the findings from this study alone are not enough to make any health recommendations. But she says that making simple changes in the kitchen might help men reduce their risk for prostate cancer.
The study was published online in a recent issue of the journal Carcinogenesis.
Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.