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18 January 2007
Weight Gain Can Turbocharge Prostate Cancer
by George Atkinson

A new study in the journal CANCER reports that obesity increases the risk of death from prostate cancer, even though it does not increase the overall risk a man will be diagnosed with the disease. The study reveals that higher body mass index (BMI) and weight gain in the adult years correlated strongly with an increased risk of death from prostate cancer. Interestingly, however, no such association was found between BMI and the development of the cancer.

The researchers, led by Margaret E. Wright, of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, said that the influence of obesity on the development of prostate cancer was not clear. She cited a recent meta-study which suggested only a weak correlation between obesity and prostate cancer incidence. However, the new study confirms that men with higher BMI or men who gained weight most rapidly since age 25 were at a greater risk of treatment failure, or of being diagnosed with the disease at an advanced stage.

Specifically, the study found that higher BMI and weight gain since the age of 18 were associated with significantly higher risk of death from prostate cancer. Men who were overweight (BMI 25-30) had a 25 percent higher risk, mildly obese men (BMI 30-35) had a 46 percent higher risk, and severely obese men (BMI greater than 35) had a 100 percent higher risk. Additionally, men who gained weight since the age of 18 (likely nearly all men) were also at increased risk of a fatal outcome.

The fact that obesity did not appear to impact the incidence of prostate cancer is consistent with findings from other studies. However, men should be aware that BMI and adult weight gain have a strong association with higher death rates from prostate cancer, concluded the researchers.

Related articles:
Diet And Stress Key Factors In Prostate Cancer Progression

Based on material from the American Cancer Society

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