Researchers at Duke Cancer Institute found a proven link between coronary artery disease and prostate cancer, indicating the two ailments may have joint causes.

“What’s good for the heart may be good for the prostate,” said Dr. Jean-Alfred Thomas II, lead author of the study. The results were published in the online edition of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Coronary artery disease kills more adults in the United States than any other cause, according to the study, being responsible for one in four deaths. Causes are linked to high blood pressure, cholesterol, cigarette smoking, obesity, and diabetes.

Prostate Cancer is just as deadly, as it’s the second most lethal cancer for American men, after lung cancer. Each year nearly 240,000 new cases arise along with 34,000 deaths.

The Duke research team gathered data from 6,390 men enrolled in a big study entitled REDUCE, which is a four-year randomized trial to test the prostate cancer risk reduction benefits of a drug named dutasteride.

The participants had a prostate biopsy at the two and four year marks, and they also gave a detailed medical history that included their weight, incidence of heart disease, alcohol intake, medication use, and additional factors.

Out of all of the male participants, 547 reported a pre-enrollment history of coronary artery disease, which increased the mens risk of prostate cancer by 35 percent, with the risk becoming increasingly higher over time.

The 547 subjects, who were older, heavier and less healthy, were 24 percent more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer within the first two years of the study, compared to the men who reported no heart disease. Four years into the study, the 547 men had a 74 percent higher chance of developing prostate cancer.

“We controlled for a number of risk factors, including hypertension, taking statins or aspirin,” Thomas said. “We don’t have a good grasp on what’s causing the link, but we are observing this association.”

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