Eating fried food linked to upped prostate cancer risk

Jan. 30, 2013, 3:09 p.m.

Eating a plate like this every week could mean an increased risk of prostate cancer, says a new study. (Julia Frost/Flickr Creative Commons)

Fried food fans won't be happy with one of the latest studies appearing in The Prostate – and yes, that's the name of a peer-reviewed journal.

The research indicates that regularly eating deep-fried foods is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Scarier still, the foods have been linked to the disease's more aggressive forms.

Prostate cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths among men older than 75; people at high risk of the condition include black men, men older than 60 and men whose father or brother has or had the disease. How well men with prostate cancer fare depends on whether the cancer has spread outside the prostate gland, which wraps around the urethra.

If it hasn't spread, it can likely be cured.

The study was the first to look at how fried foods affect a man's prostate cancer risk, and found that it rose by up to 37 percent when men ate one or more of the following foods at least once weekly:

– French fries
– Fried chicken
– Fried fish
– Donuts

Researchers speculated that the link could possibly be explained by the fact that when oil is heated so that it's hot enough to deep-fry something, "potentially carcinogenic compounds" – that is, compounds that can cause cancer – can form in the finished product. The prevalence of those compounds increases the more oil is reused and the longer something is fried.

Deep-fried foods also contain a lot of "advanced glycation endproducts," a fancy term for compounds that have been linked to chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, a type of chemical imbalance within the body that can have negative effects on a person's health.

The prostate joins a running list of body parts that seem to become more vulnerable to cancer due to fried food consumption: the breast, the lungs, the pancreas, the head and neck, and the esophagus.

Photo by Julia Frost via Flickr Creative Commons.

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