Weight Plays Role in Some Cancers

Studies discover link between body mass and prostate, ovarian cancers

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TUESDAY, Aug. 19, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Heavier men have a lower risk of prostate cancer while women who were overweight early in life have an increased risk of ovarian cancer, according to the findings of two independent studies.

In the prostate study, Harvard School of Public Health researchers examined 2,896 cases of prostate cancer in men taking part in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. They found that men with a higher body mass index had a lower risk of prostate cancer than men with a lower body mass index, but only if they were younger than age 60 or had a family history of prostate cancer.

The association was not found in men with sporadic prostate cancers.

In the ovarian cancer study, Norwegian researchers found that women who were overweight or obese as adolescents or young adults appear to have an increased risk of ovarian cancer. The study also found an increased ovarian cancer risk for taller women under age 60.

The study included more than 1 million Norwegian women ages 14 to 74. The researchers examined the relationship between the women's body mass index, height and their risk of ovarian cancer.

Meanwhile, a third study found that the risk of testicular cancer may be determined by early environmental exposure. The study found that Finnish men who immigrated to Sweden have a risk of testicular cancer comparable to that of men living in Finland.

That finding suggests that the risk of testicular cancer is determined by environmental exposure early in life, possibly before birth.

All three studies appear in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

More Information

Here's where you can learn more about prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and testicular cancer.

SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, news release, Aug. 19, 2003

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