24/11/2011 06:49 GMT

Well-Done Steak Doubles Prostate Cancer Risk, Say Experts

Men who prefer their steak well-done could be rapidly increasing their chances of developing prostate cancer, health experts have warned.

Researchers from the University of California studied the eating habits of 1,000 men, 470 of who had been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. The men were asked about their red meat consumption, as well as how often they grilled and barbecued their meat.

The results showed that those who regularly ate chargrilled burgers, liver and processed meats had twice the odds of developing aggressive, hard-to-treat prostate cancer than those who never ate meat or had it medium to rare.

Scientists believe that charred meat cooked at high temperatures causes a reaction that forms two chemicals - heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycycic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These chemicals help prostate cells develop far quicker than normal.

"Higher intake of any ground beef or processed meats were positively associated with aggressive prostate cancer, with ground beef showing the strongest association," says Dr. John White from the study.

"This association primarily reflected intake of grilled or barbecued meat, with more well-done meat conferring a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer. In contrast, consumption of rare to medium cooked ground beef was not associated with aggressive prostate cancer. Higher intake of well-done grilled or barbecued red meat could increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer."

According to Cancer Research, over 37,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. Prostate cancer rates have sadly tripled in the last 30 years.

"This study not only associates red meat with a risk of prostate cancer but it takes it a little bit forward by looking at the method of cooking and the degree of cooking," Lee Richstone professor of surgery and a prostate-cancer specialist at the Smith Institute of Urology, New York, told

"It helps contribute to our understanding of a potential mechanism in the form of HCAs and PAHs."

Almost every day a new study emerges telling us about a food that is either linked to the development of cancer or the prevention of the disease. Below are some of the foods that researchers have discovered could help to prevent cancer.

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