Heart Disease May Also Increase Prostate Cancer Risk

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New research strongly suggests that coronary artery disease may significantly increase prostate cancer risk.



As I discuss in my recent bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, many of the same lifestyle and dietary habits that increase our risk of developing cardiovascular disease (including coronary artery disease, heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease, and stroke) also increase our risk of developing certain types of cancer.  However, the data linking lifestyle and dietary factors with prostate cancer risk has, so far, been both weak and contradictory.  Now, a newly published study has found an apparent link between coronary artery disease and prostate cancer risk.  These findings appear in a new update of the ongoing REDUCE (REduction by DUtasteride of prostate Cancer Events) clinical trial, which I previously reported on in 2010 (), and these updated findings appear in the current online issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Among the 6,390 men enrolled in this prospective, randomized prostate cancer prevention trial, 547 men were known to have coronary artery disease at the time that they entered into this research study.  Not surprisingly, this group of men with heart disease had a greater number of risk factors for cardiovascular disease when compared to the men without coronary artery disease, including obesity, high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, and elevated cholesterol.    What was surprising, however, is that over the 4 year course of this clinical study, the risk of prostate cancer in this group of men with coronary artery disease was significantly higher than what was observed among the men without heart disease.  Two years into the REDUCE study, the men with a history of coronary artery disease were 24 percent more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer when compared to the men with healthy hearts.  After four years of participation in this clinical study, the men with known coronary artery disease were 74 percent more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer!

While this particular research study was not designed to determine which risk factors for cardiovascular disease were specifically involved with prostate cancer risk, as I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, both obesity and smoking have previously been linked to an increased risk of death due to prostate cancer, and these two lifestyle factors are also strongly linked to cardiovascular disease risk.


Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of death due to cancer (following lung cancer) in men, and is associated with nearly 35,000 deaths each year in the United States alone.  In many ways, prostate cancer is the male counterpart of breast cancer (which is also the second most common cause of cancer-associated death in women), although prostate cancer has yet to receive the same level of attention and research funding as has breast cancer.  In my view, we men have a lot to learn from our female counterparts about raising cancer awareness, and advocating for increased research funding, when it comes to prostate cancer. Therefore, I urge all men to explore opportunities to actively support prostate cancer awareness, and improved research funding, in their local communities.

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!

Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author

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