Pan-Frying Responsible For Increased Risk Of Prostate Cancer
August 17, 2012

Pan-Frying Responsible For Increased Risk Of Prostate Cancer

Lee Rannals for — Your Universe Online

There's nothing like good ole' pan fried meat to get your prostate up and running for its life, and as awesome as it would be to grab some fresh bacon and throw it onto a skillet to fry, scientists say you are putting yourself at risk of prostate cancer.

University of Southern California researchers found that cooking red meats at high temperatures, especially pan-fried red meats, can increase your risk of the cancer by up to 40 percent.

This is not the first time studies have pointed to an association of red meats and an increased risk of prostate cancer, but this study does point to cooking methods like frying up some ground beef as a way of increasing your risk.

The team pooled data from nearly 2,000 men who participated in the California Collaborative Prostate Cancer Study.

Study participants completed a comprehensive survey that evaluated the amount and type of meat intake, including poultry and processed red meat. Information about how the amateur chefs concocted their dinner was obtained through color photographs that displayed the level of doneness.

“We found that men who ate more than 1.5 servings of pan-fried red meat per week increased their risk of advanced prostate cancer by 30 percent,” Mariana Stern, who led an analyses for the study, said in a press release. “In addition, men who ate more than 2.5 servings of red meat cooked at high temperatures were 40 percent more likely to have advanced prostate cancer.”

Considering the specific types of red meats, such as hamburgers but not steak, also could lead to an increased risk of prostate cancer.

“We speculate that these findings are a result of different levels of carcinogen accumulation found in hamburgers, given that they can attain higher internal and external temperatures faster than steak,” Stern, associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, said in the release.

The scientists found that men with diets high in baked poultry had a lower risk of advanced prostate cancer, but those who consumed more pan-fried poultry had an increased risk.

Stern said that pan-frying, regardless of the meat-type, might be something you should try laying off of if you want your doctor to keep screening your prostate with his finger and leaving you with a clean slate each time. In other words, pan-frying a day does not keep the doctor away.

Researchers are not sure why pan-frying poses such an increased risk for prostate cancer, other than maybe that cancer just has a bone to pick with delicious food. They do suspect it could be due to the formation of the DNA-damaging carcinogens during the cooking of red meat and poultry.

These heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed when sugars and amino acids are cooked at higher temperatures for longer periods of time.

There is strong experimental evidence that HCAs and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, another carcinogenic formed while grilling or smoking meat, could contribute to certain cancers.

“The observations from this study alone are not enough to make any health recommendations, but given the few modifiable risk factors known for prostate cancer, the understanding of dietary factors and cooking methods are of high public health relevance,” Stern said in the press release.

The study was published online in the journal Carcinogenesis.