Height, weight key indicators of aggressive prostate cancer risk, study shows

Height, weight key indicators of aggressive prostate cancer risk, study shows

Studies have shown a man’s height or weight can affect his risk of getting prostate cancer. New research takes it a step further, suggesting those factors can influence the chances of being diagnosed with an aggressive form of the cancer. A study conducted at Oxford University in England suggests the larger the man, the greater his risk of getting and dying from high-grade prostate cancer.

Researchers examined data from nearly 142,000 men in eight European countries who took part in a major study of cancer and nutrition. More than 7,000 of the men developed prostate cancer during the 14-year follow-up period. Of those, nearly 1,400 had advanced-stage cancer and 934 died from the disease. The study showed a 21 percent higher risk of prostate cancer with every four-inch increase of height and a 13 percent higher risk of aggressive cancer with every four-inch increase of waist circumference.

The researchers stressed height alone does not determine a man’s risk of prostate cancer, but height plus a greater body-mass index were shown to predict the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer.

Among the theories proposed are that obesity can affect hormones in a way that promotes prostate cancer. Also, the researchers said it can be hard to detect prostate cancer early in obese men because of the difficulties of doing a digital rectal exam. If a man has a large prostate already, a physician might miss signs of trouble.

So, what’s a big guy to do? While men can’t do much to reduce their height, they can drop some weight. And big fellows should talk to their doctor about being screened regularly and more closely for signs of cancer.

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