Lycopene may decrease prostate cancer risk

Doctors disagree on the role of lycopene in prostate cancer, and the level and absorbability of lycopene from foods is difficult to measure.

In this long-term study, researchers measured the diets of 49,898 male health professionals, aged 40 to 75.

After 24 years of follow-up, men who got the most lycopene, up to 13.4 mg per day, were 28 percent less likely to have developed any type of prostate cancer, and 53 percent less likely to have lethal prostate cancer, compared to men who got the least lycopene, about 3.2 mg per day. Higher levels of lycopene were linked to lower levels of new blood vessels forming to feed the cancer tumors, which helped slow the progression and severity of the disease. Also, doctors found greater lycopene intake early in life to be more beneficial than later in life, with the richest sources of lycopene being tomatoes and tomato products.

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