A research team from the University of Oxford that examined the relationship between height, obesity, and prostate cancer grade found that men who are tall and men who are obese have a higher risk of high grade prostate cancer.
In the U.S., prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. Around one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, and one in 39 men will die from the disease.
Previous research done that examined the relationship between height, body mass index (BMI) and prostate cancer risk resulted in various conclusions. However, this research did not split the data into cancer type or categorize tumors into subtypes according to how far the cancer had spread (stage) and how abnormal tumor cells were when compared to normal cells (grade).
For this study, data was taken from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, which included 141,896 men from various European countries. The average age of the study participants was 52.
Out of the men, 7,024 had incidences of prostate cancer; 726 of these were high-grade and 1,388 were in an advanced stage. There were 934 men who died from prostate cancer.
Link with men who are tall
Height in and of itself was not associated with overall risk of prostate cancer, but tall men with prostate cancer have a 21 percent greater likelihood of high grade disease and 17 percent higher risk of death from prostate cancer with every additional ten centimeters (3.9 inches) of height. The researchers were not able to explain why height may be a factor in prostate cancer, but it could provide insights into other mechanisms that contribute to prostate cancer development, such as nutrition and growth early in a man’s life.
Links with men who are obese
The research team found that men who had high BMI’s had a higher risk of high-grade tumors as well an increased risk of death from prostate cancer.
The scientists found that waist circumference is a preferred and more accurate method for determining obesity rather than BMI in older adult men. Men with a higher BMI had an 18 percent higher risk of death from prostate cancer and a 13 percent greater risk of high grade cancer with every ten centimeters (3.9 inches) increase in waist circumference. The reason for the higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer in men with high BMI’s may be due to changes in hormone levels.
Men with a healthy body weight were found to have an associated reduced risk of high grade prostate cancer and death.
Members from the research team conceded that more work is needed to better understand why obese men have a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer. This study further strengthens the recommendation that men should have a healthy body weight. Of course, men who are tall cannot change their height, but it could be that tall men should be screened more carefully.
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, SamadiMD.com and Facebook