PCa in Animals vs Diet

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
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   Posted 1/6/2011 5:04 AM (GMT -6)   
In the "Sad News" thread, there was a comment that dogs can suffer from prostate cancer. This was news to me and rather than hijack that thread I am starting this one.

Does anyone know of other animals that suffer from PCa? Googling around I find that cats also suffer from it. Interestingly the common factor is that both are mainly meat eaters (as if we didn't know!). What about vegetarians? I found some references to PCa in stallions but it seems fairly rare. I can't find anything on cattle (specifically bulls). What about vegetarian cats or dogs if such exist?

With a few threads recently that indicate a vegetarian diet may slow down the advance of PCa, if vegetarian animals also show a reduced incidence of PCa compared with the carnivores, that would be interesting indeed.

Thoughts anyone?
No symptoms; PSA 5.7; Gleason 4+5=9; cancer in 4/12 cores
Non-nerve-sparing RRP 7 March 2008 age 63
Organ confined, neg margins. Gleason downgrade 4+4=8
Fully continent
Bimix worked well; now using just VED
PSA undetectable at first but now 0.3, doubling time 7 months
No radiation but ADT coming unless I can slow down the rise...

Worried Guy
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
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   Posted 1/6/2011 7:59 AM (GMT -6)   
That is an interesting premise.

I wonder if PCa rates are different for countries that are traditionally vegetarian. For example: Hindu - India. Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Jamaican are also possibilities, but the environments are so different.
Or maybe a region that has several different belief systems. Hindu, Buddhist, Christian....

Oooo I got it! The old city of Jerusalem is divided into 4 quarters: Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian. The air, sunlight and weather conditions are virtually identical but their diets would most likely be different. I am not an expert on Armenian cuisine - or any cuisine other than chocolate truffles (and do those very well) - but it would seem likely their foods are different.
I'll bet there is data on PC rates for the various groups.

This sounds like a topic for an NIH grant.

I wonder if I can work an incontinence study in there somehow.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
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   Posted 1/6/2011 9:39 AM (GMT -6)   
That was my comment, and I found it interesting at the time Moki died, and still do, that neutered (castrated) male dogs do not have a problem with prostate cancer.  Of course, that makes sense, since we all know that castration is a treatment for PCa, and that testosterone fuels the flames. 
Is it possible that the primary commonality we all have is that we were cursed (or blessed,as the case may be) with high testosterone levels?  Could that be what initiates the cell changes that result in our PCa?
I'm sure that's been looked into, since it's so basic, but I've personally never seen it discussed.
In any case, our daughter's Shih-Tzu, acquired at the same time but castrated as a pup, continues to live on at age 13 or 14.

Elite Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 1/6/2011 11:42 AM (GMT -6)   
I read of an account of an elephant that died from PC, in an American zoo, just can't remember which one, I don't believe they eat meat at all.
Age: 58, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 7 of 7 Positive, 40-90%, Gleason 4+3
open RP: 11/08, on catheters for 101 days
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos marg
Incont & ED: None
Post Surgery PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04, 8/6 .06 11/10 Not taking it
Latest: 6 Corr Surgeries to Bladder Neck, SP Catheter since 10/1/9, SRT 39 Sess/72 gy ended 11/09, 21 Catheters, Ileal Conduit Surgery 9/23/10

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 847
   Posted 1/6/2011 4:52 PM (GMT -6)   
A lot of our domestic vegetarian animals are female, males are castrated young, and only a small fraction of the entire males live to old age, where they are presumably susceptible to PCa. These are likely to be the valuable stud animals, stallions, bulls rams, stags etc. Given their value, if PCa was a problem with these animals, I expect there would be a lot more references to it than there are.

But lots of references to dogs...

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
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   Posted 1/21/2011 6:43 PM (GMT -6)   
This is such an interesting subject (to me at least!) that I am posting an update.

Have just been reading the Walsh book "Surviving Prosatate Cancer" for the first time and found this in Chapter 3 on What Causes Prostate Cancer:
Walsh said...
Coffey [Don Coffey, a Johns Hopkins scientist] looked a few rungs further down the evolutionary ladder and found the pigmy chimp, also called the bonobo. Bonobos and humans have many things in common, except for diet. Bonobos are, as humans probably were, very long ago, vegetarians. They don't get prostate cancer.
And a little further on
Walsh again said...
If breast and prostate cancer have indeed developed from our evolutionary wrong turn, how can we prove it? Coffey pored over zoo records from around the world, and found that no animal kept in a zoo dies from prostate cancer or breast cancer. There are only three cases of cats dying of prostate cancer. Horses do not die of prostate cancer, bulls do not die of it, only a very few primates have ever died of it. Yet one out of every six American men gets prostate cancer. And the only animal to develop clinical prostate cancer with any significant incidence is the dog -- sedentary like many humans and the pet that eats most from our table.
More available in this 2000 link: urology.jhu.edu/newsletter/prostate_cancer511.php. It is interesting that Walsh introduces the idea of dogs being sedentary but that thought does not appear in the earlier text.

It seems to me that zoo animals are mostly sedentary, so sedentary is not the main issue. Zoo animals don't get overweight, despite all the lolling about -- diet sees to that. Zoo animals don't eat cheeseburgers either.

Some (vegetarian) food for thought, and loll about if you want... :-)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 2680
   Posted 1/21/2011 7:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Honestly, the Walsh statement doesn't sound very scientific to me. 
Just because the most obvious similiarities between (some) men and (some) dogs involve being sedentary and eating similar foods, including meat, I don't think it's either logical or scientific to conclude that one or both of those factors must, therefore,  be responsible for the prostate cancer.
Testosterone is certainly a factor, because castrated dogs don't have the PCa problem.  There must also be many other biological factors at work, I would think.   

Post Edited (clocknut) : 1/21/2011 7:05:55 PM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 191
   Posted 1/22/2011 8:43 AM (GMT -6)   

i have been involved in the meat industry here in the uk since i was 15 years old,and i have always(or did) eat lots of red meat....probably 5-6 days per week when i was younger.I always liked my steak very rare and if i had one life depending guess at what i think caused my pc,i wouild guess this did.I have always pushed myself hard in the gym and i would guess that uncooked red meat(rare) and excesive production of androgen (T) are the primary causes of pc.There is no history of pc in my family and i have advanced desease at the age of 44.I am very fit and more capable than most 25 year olds but have this incurable desease.I have also asked myself the following question.If there is a link to red meat is it the meat itself or is it what we inject into livestock during production????Also for the passed 10 years i have taken creatine as a sports supplement!!!!This is found in RED MEAT....Maybe i started this desease myself,maybe its just coincedence.Whatever, if i had my time again i would take more note of the little messages that we get from the health experts.By posting this thread i am just stating my own situation ,and life style. It would be interesting to ask other suffers if they had similar life styles?Are we aware of vegetarian guys who have never eaten red meat that have developed pc???? idea


Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 2680
   Posted 1/22/2011 10:01 AM (GMT -6)   
I guess whoever comes up with "the cause" of prostate cancer will win the $64 million dollar prize, but I'm inclined to guess there are multiple contributing factors rather than a single identifiable cause.  If it was a simple answer, we'd know it by know.
Why are African Americans more smitten by the disease?  Why are Hispanics less so, as are Asians?  I'm none of those.  I grew up poor, and there wasn't a whole lot of meat on the table, red or otherwise. After we were married, most of our meat came from my wife's parents, who raised Hereford steers, which were strictly grain fed, no additives ever.  That continued for many years until Beth's Dad retired from farming.  He lived to be 87 with nary a prostate problem or concern.
No one on my father's side or my mother's side has had PCa as far back as I've been able to trace.  There has been breast cancer on my mother's side, although she herself lived to be 80 and never had it.  My Dad had colon cancer, and that's about it for the cancer history in my family.
I've lived a very active life.  I've been a runner and a bicyclist.  I don't know how I could have avoided the prostate cancer.  I feel as if it's a complicated equation.  Maybe it's related to my sleep apnea, my baldness, my bad vision, my long third finger, the crooked toe on my right foot, my sometimes overcharged libido (in days past, that is), my college age work as a house painter, the little yellow squeeze bottles that we used to pick up behind the Ford dealer in the 50's and drank out of that had contained car wax.  I don't know, and it probably wouldn't give me any comfort to find out.
Something's going to kill us all.  The six o'clock news is chock full of remedies aimed at keeping us boomers alive and youthful forever, but eventually we're all going to die.
PCa wanted to kill me, but for the time being it's not going to.  I chalk that up as a victory in the battle to stay alive.  I guess something else will have a run at it eventually, and we'll see who wins next time.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 7270
   Posted 1/22/2011 10:53 AM (GMT -6)   
This thread hints at one of the main problems we have. HW and other sites are full of anecdotal accounts. Bob did this and his PSA went down. I don't want to revive the supplements debate, but again this is the dilemma we have. Anecdotes are nice, but they are so far below the level of proof.
You are now trying to relate animal PC with human PC and find commonalities. But here's the reality: they are animals; we are humans. That in itself is a HUGE difference. This is why, FAR MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, a drug may work on animals (giving us all great hope) but then fail in humans.
I realize we can learn a lot about human disease by studying animals, but we have to be cautious in drawing conclusions.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 489
   Posted 1/22/2011 11:41 AM (GMT -6)   
A little while ago jpnutritionfirst brought up "The China Study" in relation to getting Calcium via milk/animal calcium vs fruits and vegetable sources. (And I have since read the book and want to thank Jp for prompting a change in my life habits -- I love meat, but am slowly changing habits now). Yes the study is all controversial, yadda, yadda, yadda. I don't care. I just like the idea of more veg and less animal protein -- and this from a lifelong meat-eater (and still loving it -- hard to kick that habit in the USA).

Also on compiler's observation about animals often responding to a drug (or nutrition factor) that humans do not respond to. One major difference seems to be in the slight difference in Vitamin D Receptors -- Human VDR has evolved to be different, even from chimpanzees -- and certainly much different from all other mammals. Yet it is the prime receptor for thousands of proteins that are involved with immunity responses. But often a protein made in animal VDR is not made in Human VDR and also the reverse.

So, as compiler said, be wary of any animal based studies -- they may not apply to humans. Heck, beware of Human studies -- they may not apply to humans either!

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