Cancer prevention is top of mind for most people, but once you are diagnosed with heart disease, it might slip to the back of your mind. A new study suggests that men might want to consider their prostates if they have heart issues…because they are at greater risk for cancer.
In a large analysis of men participating in a prostate drug trial, researchers at Duke University found a significant link between coronary artery disease and prostate cancer. They believe the two conditions may have shared causes.
If confirmed that heart disease is a risk factor for prostate cancer, the tumor might be combated in part by lifestyle changes such as weight loss, exercise, and a healthy diet — all known to prevent heart disease. Maybe natural remedies for the heart will do the prostate good, too!
Coronary artery disease kills more adults in the U.S. than any other cause, accounting for one in four deaths. Risk factors include inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol, cigarette smoking, and diabetes.
(Read this article to discover five ways to lower your prostate cancer risk by 59%.)
Similarly, prostate cancer is a common killer. It’s the second-most lethal cancer for U.S. men, behind lung cancer, with about 240,000 new cases diagnosed a year, and 34,000 deaths. Previous studies exploring the relationship between coronary artery disease and prostate cancer risk have found conflicting results.
In the current study, the Duke team used data from 6,390 men enrolled in a large study to test the prostate cancer risk reduction benefits of a drug. All participants had a prostate biopsy at the two- and four-year marks. They also provided a detailed medical history that included their weight, incidence of heart disease, alcohol intake, medication use, and other factors.
Among the men in the study, 547 reported a history of coronary artery disease. This group of men tended to be older, heavier, and less healthy, with higher baseline PSA levels (used to predict prostate cancer), plus more incidences of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. These men were much more likely to develop prostate cancer, even after accounting for everything else.
Having coronary artery disease increased the men’s risk of prostate cancer by 35%. This risk kept rising as time went on. The group was 24% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer within the first two years of the study than men who reported no heart disease. By four years into the study, this group’s prostate cancer risk was 74% higher.
What they don’t yet know is what is causing the link. But the connection is quite strong and is very much worth considering for all men who suffer coronary artery disease. Work with your doctor to help protect yourself from prostate cancer as well. Regular screening is a must!