Study links prostate cancer with chronic inflammation

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SARASOTA, Fla. - Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. One in seven will get it, and one in 36 will die from it. Now a new study links chronic inflammation to prostate cancer.

Men are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer if they are fifty or older, have a father or brother with the disease, or are of African-American descent. And now chronic inflammation joins the list of possible triggers.

“He checked my PSA, he watched it, it was creeping up, creeping up, creeping up, and then finally he just said, ‘I think we should, I'm a little nervous about this, let's do a biopsy’.” Sam Stern of Cap Brand Marketing in Sarasota has no family history of prostate cancer, eats healthy food and takes good care of himself. “The biopsy came back positive, and that’s how I found out.”

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than quarter of a million new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2014, and now a study finds a link between chronic inflammation and the disease.

“One of the reasons we know that prostate cancer is more prevalent in people that have a high amount of saturated fat in their diet, a high amount of red meat in their diet, is because those things create inflammation,” says Eve Prang Plews with Full Spectrum Health.

It’s hard to find a chronic disease that inflammation is not connected to, says licensed nutrition counselor Plews. “Inflammation ups your risk of getting all sorts of degenerative diseases, not just prostate cancer.”

Urologist Dr. Daniel Kaplon of Sarasota Memorial Hospital says the study of a small group of men has interesting findings. “The men who went on to develop prostate cancer had a much higher incidence of inflammation in the prostate that was found in the study, as compared to the ones that didn’t.”

The study, he says, opens the door for further exploration. “It's the first glimpse that we're really getting into a group of men that had no risk factor for prostate cancer other than inflammation being screened.”

Kaplan says we have to be aware of lifestyle factors in our diet and exercise that could cause silent inflammation in the body. “That may very well have an underlying risk association with development of cancer, like prostate cancer.”

Researchers of the study are next looking at the type of inflammatory cells that may influence the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

As for Stern, his healthy lifestyle may in part be responsible for his good health grade. His PSA level is way down.