Of the 6,390 men enrolled in the four-year study, those who reported a history of coronary artery disease had a 74 percent higher risk of prostate cancer than other study participants.
Study participants had prostate biopsies at the two- and four- year marks, regardless of levels of prostate-specific antigens (PSA) in their blood. PSA is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland that can be used to detect prostate cancer.
Those with a history of coronary artery disease tended to be older, heavier and less healthy, with higher baseline PSA levels and instances of diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, exercise and a healthy diet, are known to prevent heart disease. If the link between heart disease and prostate cancer is confirmed, then healthier lifestyle choices could reduce prostate cancer risk, as well.
"What's good for the heart may be good for the prostate," said Jean-Alfred Thomas II, MD, in a news release. Dr. Thomas is a post-doctoral fellow in the Division of Urology at Duke and lead author of the study.
Read the full study report here.
Prostate cancer facts:
- Approximately 1 in every 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States.
- In 2011, there were 240,890 new cases and 33,720 prostate cancer deaths.
- More than 2 million men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the U.S. are still alive today.
- American Cancer Society recommends prostate screenings for all men aged 50 years or older, and at 40 or 45 years old for those at higher risk.
- Some risk factors include age, race, family history, genes, diet, obesity, exercise and smoking.
Heart disease facts:
- Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States.
- Controllable risk factors include inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol, cigarette smoking and diabetes.
- Other risk factors include age, gender, genes and race.