Deep-Fried Cancer Risks

Prostate cancer risks associated with regular consumption of fried foods

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Who doesn’t love French fries, fried chicken and doughnuts? And who doesn’t know that fried delicacies are not the best choice for your health? Well, the news isn't getting any better. These foods are now associated with increased risks of yet another cancer.

A new study discovered that men who regularly chowed down on fried foods were at greater risk of developing prostate cancer. This association was slightly higher with aggressive forms of the disease.

"Skip the fried foods."

Investigators at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, made the connection. Janet L. Stanford, PhD, co-director of the Hutchinson Center's Program in Prostate Cancer Research, led the study.

Previous studies have found a possible link between foods cooked at high temperatures – such as grilled meats – and increased prostate cancer risks. This is the first study to look specifically at fried foods.

The study analyzed data from two previous studies involving a total of 1,549 prostate cancer patients and 1,492 healthy men of the same age. The men were between the ages of 35 and 72. Study members completed dietary questionnaires regarding their overall eating habits and consumption of specific deep-fried foods.

Researchers found that men who said they ate fried foods once a week were more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who ate these high-fat foods once a month.

Specifically, eating fried foods one or more times a week increased a man’s prostate cancer risk by 30 to 37 percent. Fried food lovers also had a slightly higher risk of developing a more aggressive form of prostate cancer, the researchers found.

"The link between prostate cancer and select deep-fried foods appeared to be limited to the highest level of consumption – defined in our study as more than once a week – which suggests that regular consumption of deep-fried foods confers particular risk for developing prostate cancer," Dr. Stanford said in a statement.

While the exact reason for this association remains a mystery, there are theories. Dr. Stanford thinks that these foods could be filled with cancer-causing compounds produced when oil is heated to temperatures high enough for frying. These toxic compounds increase the longer a food is fried and when oil is re-used, according to the researchers.

The authors also theorized that fast food may play a role in this trend. They wrote, “It is possible that the association between regular intake of these foods and prostate cancer risk that we observed may be a marker of high fast food consumption in general.”

Previous research has found a link between deep-fried foods and cancers of the breast, esophagus, head and neck, lung and pancreas.

This study was published in the January issue of The Prostate. The National Cancer Institute funded this research. No conflicts of interest were disclosed.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 29, 2013
Last Updated:
August 19, 2013