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High Serum Calcium Linked to Prostate Cancer

Greater risk of developing and dying from the disease

THURSDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Men with high levels of serum calcium are at greater risk of developing prostate cancer and dying from the disease, researchers report in the September issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

Halcyon G. Skinner, Ph.D., from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Gary G. Schwartz, Ph.D., from Wake Forest University Health Sciences in Winston-Salem, N.C., analyzed data on serum calcium levels and prostate cancer risk in 2,814 men who were 24 to 77 years old in 1971-1975. Of these, 85 developed prostate cancer and 25 died of the disease over 46,188 person-years of follow-up. Serum calcium levels were determined an average of 9.9 years before diagnosis.

Compared with men in the bottom third of serum calcium levels, the researchers found that men in the top third had a higher risk of fatal prostate cancer (adjusted relative hazard 2.68) and a higher risk of incident prostate cancer (adjusted relative hazard 1.31).

"Our finding of a more than 2.5-fold increased risk for men in the highest tertile of serum calcium is comparable in magnitude with the risk associated with family history and could add significantly to our ability to identify men at increased risk for fatal prostate cancer," Skinner and Schwartz conclude.

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