Produce and Prostate Cancer

A study published Jan. 14 in JAMA found that increasing vegetable intake did not slow time to progression for patients diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer. Researchers randomly assigned 478 patients who had chosen active surveillance for their prostate cancer to either receive phone calls from a counselor encouraging them to eat more vegetables or printed information encouraging a healthy diet rich in vegetables. The patients who received phone counseling significantly increased their vegetable intake compared to those who received printed materials. However, the increased vegetable intake did not translate to improved risk of progression. “The most common question I receive from men on active surveillance is, ‘Can I decrease the chances that I will need treatment for prostate cancer by changing my diet?’​ We now have good evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and light on red meat is not likely to impact need for treatment,” study co-author James Mohler of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, said in a press release. “But this study does not provide justification for eating anything you want, either. The overall health benefits of a diet that’s relatively low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and healthy grains are well-established.”

Starting a Conversation on Cancer Survival Rates

Research indicates that many cancer patients nearing the end of their life are unaware of their prognosis. A new website, CancerSurvivalRates.com, attempts to make cancer survival statistics more accessible. The site draws its data from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. The site allows users to select factors like cancer type, stage, grade, age and sex and see how they affect survival rates. The site was conceived by two technology experts with experience in health care startups and was designed with help from oncologists and researchers. “We want this to be a conversation starter, for someone to take this information and ask their physician, what do you think about my prognosis?” project co-founder Stephen Buck told STAT.

Reporting Clinical Trial Results

A 2007 law mandates that institutions conducting clinical trials report their results on ClinicalTrials.gov, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health have enacted a rule requiring this reporting. Trial results must be reported within a year of completion of the trail. But according to an investigation by Science​ published Jan. 13, many institutions are not complying. Out of more than 4,700 trials examined that were due to have reported results, more than half violated the reporting law. There were 184 sponsor institutions with reports on at least five trials due by September 2019. Of these, 30 institutions had not reported any trial results on time. Organizations that violated the rules included academic institutions, pharmaceutical companies and the National Institutes of Health itself. 

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