A recent Australian study of more than 17,000 men aged 40-69 years has found that men who put on weight during adulthood had an increased risk of developing an aggressive form or prostate cancer.
In fact, those who put on more than 20kg since they were 18 years old almost doubled their risk of dying of the disease. This is yet another reason why maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding the beer belly phenomenon is so important.
The relationship between obesity and prostate cancer risk has been studied extensively but with inconsistent findings, particularly for tumor aggressiveness. Few studies have investigated weight change and prostate cancer incidence or mortality. Using the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study, which recruited 17,045 men aged between 40 and 69 years at study entry, we investigated associations between reported weight and body mass index (BMI) at age 18 and measured at study entry, height, weight change between age 18 and study entry and prostate cancer incidence and mortality. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using Cox regression. During follow-up (mean = 15 years) of 16,514 men, we ascertained 1,374 incident prostate cancers of which 410 were classified as aggressive, and 139 deaths from prostate cancer. The incidence of all prostate cancer was not associated with body size or weight change. Weight and BMI at study entry were positively associated with aggressive prostate cancer risk (HR = 1.06, 95% CI: 1.00–1.13 per 5 kg; HR = 1.27, 95% CI: 1.08–1.49 per 5 kg/m2) and prostate cancer mortality (HR = 1.12, 95% CI: 1.01–1.23 per 5 kg; HR = 1.49, 95% CI: 1.11–2.00 per 5 kg/m2). Weight gain was positively associated with prostate cancer mortality (HR = 1.13, 95% CI: 1.02–1.26 per 5 kg increment); the HR for ≥20 kg weight gain between age 18 and study entry compared to <5 kg gain over this period was 1.84, 95% CI: 1.09–3.09. Higher adult weight and BMI increases the risk of aggressive prostate cancer and mortality from prostate cancer. Weight gain during adult life is associated with increased prostate cancer mortality.
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