(HealthDay News) — Higher intake of saturated fat from foods is associated with more aggressive prostate cancer, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from April 16 to 20 in New Orleans.

“We show that high dietary saturated fat content is associated with increased prostate cancer aggressiveness,” study author Emma Allott, Ph.D., a research assistant professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, said in a university news release. “This may suggest that limiting dietary saturated fat content, which we know is important for overall health and cardiovascular disease prevention, may also have a role in prostate cancer.”

The researchers looked at 1,854 men from North Carolina and Louisiana. All had been diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2004 and 2009. They were asked about their eating habits and other factors at the time of their diagnosis. Higher intake of saturated fat from foods was linked with more aggressive prostate cancer, the researchers found. Interestingly, they also found that the link between saturated fat and aggressive prostate cancer was weaker in men who took statins, suggesting that statins reduce, but don’t completely reverse, the effect that high amounts of saturated fat may have on prostate cancer.

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It was also noted that higher levels of polyunsaturated fats were associated with less aggressive prostate cancer. Further research is needed to learn more about why a diet high in saturated fat is linked with more aggressive prostate cancer, Allott said.

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