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AACR: Obesity Raises Prostate Cancer Death Risk

Impact of being overweight independent of smoking status and tumor grade

FRIDAY, Nov. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Among men who develop prostate cancer, those who are obese or overweight have a higher risk of dying from the disease, according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting, held in Boston.

Jing Ma, M.D., Ph.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data on 15,000 men who were part of the Physician's Health Study who provided blood samples at enrollment in 1982 and data on weight and height, from which prediagnostic body mass index (BMI) could be calculated. The men were followed-up for 23 years. In all, 39 percent of the study participants were overweight and 3.4 percent were obese at baseline.

By the end of 2005, 2,367 men had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, of whom 265 had died of the disease. With each point increase in BMI, there was an 8 percent increase in the risk of dying from prostate cancer.

"Some people might think that what they do today has little to do with cancer risk, especially for prostate cancer, and some individuals probably wouldn't believe that obesity has anything to do with prostate cancer," Ma pointed out in a statement. "But we have found that if a man develops prostate cancer, being obese could put him at a higher risk of dying from the cancer. There is something many men can do about that."

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Physician's Briefing