A healthy lifestyle halves risk of dying as a result of prostate cancer in high-risk men

July 2022 Prevention Nalinee Pandey
Person - medical specialist or doctor, shows to patient anatomical location of urine bladder and prostate relative to body with a realistic model of organ. Concept photo for use in urology, anatomy

A recent study by American researchers suggests that adherence to a healthy lifestyle is associated with a reduced risk (50%) of developing lethal prostate cancer among high-risk men. These findings were published in the journal European Urology.

Prostate cancer is the most heritable cancer; thus, there is a greater need to identify ways to reduce the risk of this deadly disease in susceptible individuals. Towards this, researchers at Harvard Medical School (USA) have evaluated whether a healthy lifestyle can reduce the chances of prostate cancer in men with a greater risk of developing prostate cancer.

Study Design

The researchers prospectively analysed 12 411 genotyped men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1993–2019) and the Physicians’ Health Study (1983–2010). The risk of developing prostate cancer was determined using a polygenic risk score (PRS). Additionally, a healthy lifestyle was defined by a healthy weight, no smoking, vigorous physical activity, and a healthy diet.

Main Findings

The PRS was able to stratify the patients with risk for both overall and lethal prostate cancer. There was a fourfold difference between men in the highest and lowest quartiles (hazard ratio, 4.32). A healthy lifestyle was associated with a decreased rate of lethal prostate cancer risk (1.6%, HR, 0.55) than those having an unhealthy lifestyle (5.3%). No difference in overall prostate cancer risk was observed in men with either healthy or unhealthy lifestyles.


Anna Plym, the lead author of the study, said, “Having a high genetic risk is often viewed as something very deterministic, but our findings suggest it may not be. Through lifestyle modifications, early screening, and early treatment we may be able to deal with high genetic risks.”


Plym A, Zhang Y, Stopsack KH, Delcoigne B, et al. A Healthy Lifestyle in Men at Increased Genetic Risk for Prostate Cancer. Eur Urol. 2022 May 27.