CARROTS are latest weapon in the war against prostate cancer, according to groundbreaking new research published by scientists in York.

Professor Norman Maitland and his team at the University of York say a diet rich in vitamin A could be the key to beating prostate cancer because it makes the disease far more treatable.

The researchers have discovered that retenoic acid, a chemical made from vitamin A, can reduce the ability of the cancer to invade surrounding tissue.

Prof Maitland said: “If the cancer is confined to the prostate it’s much much more treatable with conventional medicine. This is about prevention rather than cure but it can stop the spread of the cancer.

“We have found that specific twin genes are turned off in malignant prostate cancer stem cells. When we turn them back on using retinoic acid, the cancer becomes less aggressive.”

He said: “It has been known for many years that low vitamin A in samples of men’s blood is associated with prostate cancer, but nobody knew the mechanisms involved. This is an exciting new development which links an element from our diet to prostate cancer stem cells.”

Vitamin A can be found in foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes and leafy green vegetables such as kale. Products produced from liver, such as paté, are also high in vitamin A.

The latest research published by the team in the Yorkshire Cancer Research Unit, is the second recent breakthrough in understanding prostate cancer.

Last month Prof Maitland announced he had discovered the process which triggers the formation of cancer cells.

The researchers also gained international recognition in 2005 when they became the first to identify prostate cancer stem cells, believed to be the root cause of prostate cancer.

More than 10,000 men die annually in the UK from prostate cancer, and almost 41,000 men are diagnosed with the disease each year.