BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Health
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Background Briefings 
Medical notes 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Thursday, 8 June, 2000, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Vegan diet 'cuts prostate cancer risk'
Broccoli
A vegan diet may have health benefits
A vegan diet might lower the risk of developing prostate cancer, say researchers.

Cancer: the facts
They have found that men who eat a vegan diet have lower levels of a growth factor that is associated with prostate cancer than either meat-eaters or vegetarians.

The research's publication comes after controversy about claims that dairy-free diets prevent breast cancer.

Earlier studies have suggested that the risk of prostate cancer is increased by high levels of the growth factor IGF-I.

Other research has shown that prostate cancer rates are generally low in countries with a low consumption of meat and dairy products.

The new study, by the Imperial Cancer Research Fund's Cancer Epidemiology Unit in Oxford, reveals IGF-I levels are 9% lower in vegans than in meat-eaters.

First evidence

Dr Tim Key, senior scientist at the charity, said: "Previous studies have shown that men with prostate cancer have higher levels of IGF-I and that even small differences in the circulating level are predictive of prostate cancer risk.

"Our study shows that the circulating level of IGF-I is different in vegan men than it is in non-vegans, including vegetarians.

"The lower levels of IGF-I found in vegan men might reduce their risk of prostate cancer."

There has been much coverage in the media about the possible effect of a dairy-free diet on breast and prostate cancer risk.

However, until now there has been no scientific evidence to prove the anti-cancer benefits of a vegan diet.

Dr Key said: "More research is needed before it would be possible to say whether having a vegan diet reduces a man's risk of prostate cancer."

The study, carried out in 696 British men, also found IGF-1 levels were slightly lower in vegetarians than meat-eaters.

The men in the study were taken from a larger European study (EPIC), which is looking at the relationship between diet and cancer to follow-up and check for prostate cancer in men with different dietary habits.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

28 Dec 99 | Health
Genes linked to prostate cancer
01 May 00 | Health
Prostate cancer survival boost
02 Mar 00 | Health
1m for prostate cancer research
03 Apr 00 | Health
Urine test for prostate cancer
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories