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Swapping red meat for tomatoes cuts prostate cancer death risk

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By Bloomberg News
Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, 5:09 p.m.

Eating tomatoes and cutting down on processed red meat are among a set of six diet and lifestyle habits that help slash the risk of dying from prostate cancer, a study found.

Researchers analyzed information gathered from almost 46,000 men for 25 years and found that those who adopted five or six of the habits had a 39 percent lower risk of developing lethal prostate cancer than those who adopted one or none of the habits, according to the results presented at the European Cancer Congress in Amsterdam on Sunday. In a study involving more than 21,000 men, the risk reduction was 47 percent.

Each of the six habits, which included not smoking, exercising, eating fatty fish and having a body-mass index of less than 30, has been linked with lowering prostate cancer risk, but their joint effect hasn't been studied before, said Stacey Kenfield, a University of California, San Francisco researcher who presented the results. The scientists are studying which elements play the most important role in reducing cancer risk, she said.

“Encouraging men and counseling men to adopt these six factors will likely improve their overall health and hopefully also improve their prostate-cancer risk,” Kenfield said in the presentation. “Our data suggest that adopting these practices may prevent a large proportion of lethal prostate cancer.”

While one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, making it the most common type of tumor, most don't die from it. There are 2.5 million men living in the United States with prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

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