The incidence and death rates of certain cancers have typically been much lower among Asian populations when compared with those in North America, Europe, and Australia. Now a new study finds rising cancer deaths—especially prostate cancer and breast cancer–among Asians that correlate with their transition to a Western diet.
Let’s look at prostate cancer statistics. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the countries where people consume the most meat and dairy foods are also those with the highest incidence of prostate cancer and prostate cancer deaths. Recent analysis of mortality rates of cancers from WHO now shows “a remarkable increase in mortality rates of breast, colon, and prostate cancers,” as noted the study’s authors.
Death rates for prostate cancer in Japan, for example, significantly increased by 3.2% per year from 1958 to 1993, while rates for breast cancer in Korea rose 5.5% annually from 1985 to 1993. The authors explained that the “striking changes in mortality rates” in prostate, breast, colon, and other cancers among East Asians during the past few decades “may be at least in part attributable to the concurrent nutrition transition” to a Western diet.
Nutrition expert and internationally known physician and author Dean Ornish, MD, has consistently stressed the dangers of what he calls the “killer diet,” which is the traditional Western diet high in fat, sugars, meats, and dairy products, and associated with diseases that kill—cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. He has shown that lifestyle changes such as modifying the diet to focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts while avoiding animal-based foods, have the power to help reduce the incidence of these diseases.