Heavy Men Face Greater Prostate Cancer Death Risk

Tuesday, 12 Nov 2013 05:25 PM

By Nick Tate

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Overweight or obese men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are far more likely to die from the disease than their slimmer peers, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study.

The findings, published in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, suggest a man's weight at the time of a prostate cancer diagnosis is a significant predictor of his likely survival — particularly among those with more aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

"We found among patients undergoing surgical treatment for prostate cancer, weight at time of diagnosis is more strongly correlated with prostate cancer survival than many other factors researchers have studied in the past, including some prostate cancer treatments," said lead researcher Reina Haque, with Kaiser Permanente Southern California's Department of Research & Evaluation in Pasadena, Calif.
 
"Moving forward, we are hoping future studies will examine the effect of weight loss and other lifestyle modifications on prostate cancer mortality."
 
For the study, researchers tracked 751 Kaiser Permanente patients with prostate cancer who underwent radical prostatectomy, an operation that includes removal of the prostate and surrounding tissue. The researchers explored the association between the patients' body mass index and prostate cancer mortality, adjusted for tumor aggressiveness and other characteristics.
 
The results showed men who died from prostate cancer were 50 percent more likely to be overweight or obese at diagnosis compared to those who did not die from the disease. Men with high Gleason scores, a rating of the aggressiveness of prostate cancer cells (ranging from 2 to 12), had the highest link between BMI and death.
 
The study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health.

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