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What You Need to Know about Preventing...

Prostate Cancer

What’s the Evidence?

The evidence that foods containing lycopene, an antioxidant pigment found in tomatoes and other red fruits, can reduce risk of prostate cancer has been judged probable. This is one of the reasons AICR recommends eating at least five portions a day of a wide range of fruits and vegetables. (Note: it is easier for the body to absorb lycopene from tomatoes once they have been processed or cooked, as into sauces or soups.)

Evidence from trials using supplements of selenium provide probable evidence that the mineral reduces prostate cancer risk. However, the overall evidence on supplements and cancer is inconsistent some trials show potential increases in risk which prevented the panel from making a general recommendation to take selenium supplements, or any dietary supplements, for cancer prevention.

(Selenium content of plant foods varies according to the amount of the trace mineral found in the soil. Brazil nuts, oatmeal and some animal foods are known sources.)

Some foods seem to increase prostate cancer risk. According to the AICR experts, diets high in calcium are a probable cause of prostate cancer.

How Preventable is Prostate Cancer?

According to AICR experts, diets high in lycopene-containing foods could prevent eleven percent of prostate cancers in the US every year.

That's almost 27,000 cases each year. (Based on 2012 incidence data.)


prostate in situ


What the Panel’s Judgments Mean

strong, consistent and unlikely to change in the future

compelling but not quite strong or consistent enough to be "convincing"

Limited Evidence – Suggestive
too limited for a grade of "probable", but a general consistency in the data

Limited Evidence – No Conclusion
too inconsistent or insufficient for a definitive grade

Substantial Effect on Risk Unlikely
enough evidence to rule out a connection

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Ann Wrenshall Worley

Ann Wrenshall Worley

Assistant Director of Planned Giving

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