MONTREAL -- A new study conducted for the first time exclusively among Montrealers confirms that certain eating habits are associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer.

The research team led by Professor Marie-Élise Parent of the National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS) examined the data of a survey carried out in Montreal between 2005 and 2012 among some 4,000 men.

The participants were notably questioned about their eating habits, which enabled researchers to identify three main dietary profiles: a diet characterized by a high consumption of fruits, vegetables and vegetable proteins; a diet that includes more salt, meats and alcoholic drinks like beer and wine; and a diet distinguished by a high consumption of pasta, pizza, sweet desserts and soft drinks.

Unsurprisingly, healthy eating was associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer, while the diet with sweets and drinks was associated with a higher risk; it also seemed to promote more aggressive cancers.

There was a surprise, however: researchers found there was no association, positive or negative, between prostate cancer and the salty, high-alcohol diet.

The researchers had expected that this dietary profile would also be associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.

The analysis took into account age, ethnicity, education, family history and date of last screening for prostate cancer.

They also speculated that many men did not prepare their own meals and therefore were consumers of processed foods or ready-made meals, suggesting that prostate cancer could be linked to the level of processed foods in one's diet.

The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that more than 23,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020.

The findings of this study were recently published by the scientific journal "Nutrients."

 This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 27, 2020.