Prostate Cancer Warning

Men Who Put On Too Much Weight In Late Teens And 20s Increase Risk Of Dying From The Disease.

Men putting on too much weight in a their late teens and 20s increase their risk of dying from prostate cancer later in life, new research released in Dublin suggests today.

The study involving an analysis of 250,000 men in Sweden which found weight gain over the course of a man’s life is associated with developing prostate cancer overall, and aggressive and fatal forms in particular.

It is being presented to the European Congress on Obesity in Dublin today.

The link with aggressive and fatal prostate cancer was driven by weight gain between the ages of 17 and 29.

Prostate cancer warning – Men who put on too much weight in late teens and 20s increase risk of dying from the disease Pic. Alamy Stock Photo.

A man who gains 1kg a year between the ages of 17 and 29 years has a 13pc increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer and a 27pc increased risk of fatal prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men globally and is diagnosed in 3,941 patients in Ireland annually.

Around 500 men die of the disease each year.

Dr Marisa da Silva, of the Department of Translational Medicine, Lund University, Malmo, Sweden, said: “Knowing more about the factors that cause prostate cancer is key to preventing it.

“The only well-established risk factors, such as increasing age, a family history of the disease and several genetic markers, are not modifiable, making it vital to identify risk factors that can be changed.”

Previous research has found strong evidence that excess body fat increases the risk of fatal prostate cancer. The evidence that body fat is associated with prostate cancer overall is, however, unclear.

In addition, many of these studies relied on measures of body fat from one point in time and did not assess aggressiveness.

Dr da Silva and her colleagues analysed data on men whose weight had been measured at least three times between the ages of 17 and 60 years. Weight was measured objectively (83pc), subjectively (5pc) and on the basis of recall (12pc).

The men, who were free of prostate cancer from 1963 until 2014, were followed up until 2019 for a median of 43 years.

There were 23,348 men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer, with an average age at diagnosis of 70 years, and 4,790 men died of the disease.

They gained on average 0.45kg a year during a median of 16 years from the first to last weight observation.

Weight gain was associated with both the development of prostate cancer and its aggressiveness.

Weight gain of more than 0.5kg per year, compared to stable weight across a man’s life, was associated with a 10pc greater risk of aggressive prostate cancer and a 29pc greater risk of fatal prostate cancer.

Further analysis showed that this link was being driven by weight gain between the ages of 17 and 29 years.

Dr da Silva said: “Previous research has implicated elevated concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a hormone that is involved in cell growth and development, with an increased risk of prostate cancer.

“Levels of this hormone are raised in people with obesity and a steep increase in weight may fuel this elevation and the development of the cancer.”

Dr da Silva added: “We do not know if it is the weight gain itself or the long duration of being heavier that is the main driver of the association that we see.

“Nevertheless, one must gain weight to become heavier, so preventing a steep increase in weight in young men is imperative for the prevention of prostate cancer.”

(Source – Irish Independent – Irish News – Eilish O Regan – 17/05/2023)

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