Study links triglyceride levels to prostate cancer

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- We normally associate high cholesterol levels with heart problems, but a new study shows it could play a part in other diseases as well.

That study showed that elevated cholesterol levels are associated with prostate cancer.

“I am grabbing a couple of types of leafy greens,” said Stephanie Paver, nutrition manager at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Western Regional Medical Center in Goodyear.

She was showing us how to build a healthy lunch plate.

“So I have about 3 ounces of baked chicken,” she said, adding a piece of white meat to the plate.

And as it turns out, she was also putting together what could one day prove to be a key tool in fighting prostate cancer.

"The key is limiting animal products and having more plant foods in the diet,” Paver said.
 
And that kind of diet can lower cholesterol, specifically triglycerides.

“Triglycerides are essentially small particles of fat that are floating in the bloodstream,” said Dr. David Boyd, director of wellness, prevention and primary care at CTCA.

And Boyd says a new study shows high levels of triglycerides are associated with prostate cancer. It specifically looked at men who had already been diagnosed and treated for cancer.

“Interestingly, what was found was that those patients that have a triglyceride level greater than 150 mg, that they had a 35 percent increased risk of developing recurrent prostate cancer," he said.

And while this study did focus on recurrence, Boyd says there is a bigger take-away.

"So the overall take-home message from this study is, yes, there is an association present, and all the more reason to make sure appropriate diet and exercise is taken into account," he said.

Whether it is ultimately proven that diet can also act as a preventative in the first place will rely on further studies.

But for now, Paver says she has already seen that proper nutrition plays a huge part in the fight against cancer.

“We know that patients that go through treatment and have a better nutritional status have better response to treatment. They have better tolerance to treatment and they have better outcomes," she said.