Daily Mail

41in waist ‘raises prostate can­cer dan­ger by a third’

- By Eleanor Hayward Health Re­porter Health · Cancer · Medicine · Lifestyle · Healthy Living · Prostate Cancer · Health Conditions · Oxford University · Oxford · United Kingdom · Prostate Cancer UK

MEN with larger waist­lines are sig­nif­i­cantly more likely to die from prostate can­cer, a study has re­vealed.

Ox­ford Univer­sity sci­en­tists found that car­ry­ing fat around the stom­ach can increase the risk of dy­ing from prostate can­cer by more than a third.

It is the largest study yet to es­tab­lish a link be­tween ex­cess weight and prostate can­cer, which is not cur­rently in­cluded in an of­fi­cial list of 13 can­cers caused by obe­sity.

Re­searchers ex­am­ined data from 218,000 men in the UK, di­vid­ing them into four groups based on the size of their waists. In to­tal, 571 of the men, aged be­tween 40 and 69, died from prostate can­cer over a decade. None had can­cer at the start of the study.

Those with waists mea­sur­ing more than 40.5 inches (103cm) were 35 per cent more likely to die than the slimmest group, who had waists be­low 35 inches (90cm).

The risk from ex­tra inches ap­plies even if men are a ‘healthy’ weight, but have a beer belly. There was no sig­nif­i­cant link be­tween body mass in­dex (BMI) or to­tal body fat and prostate can­cer, sug­gest­ing waist size is a more im­por­tant fac­tor.

The av­er­age waist size for men in the UK is 38.5 inches, after bal­loon­ing to record lev­els in re­cent years amid the obe­sity cri­sis.

Fat around the waist is dan­ger­ous be­cause it wraps around in­ter­nal or­gans. It is linked to metabolic and hor­monal dys­func­tion, which ex­perts be­lieve may trig­ger ag­gres­sive cases of prostate can­cer.

Lead au­thor Dr Aurora Perez-Cor­nago – whose work is funded by Can­cer Re­search UK – said: ‘We found a sig­nif­i­cant as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween con­cen­tra­tion of body fat around the belly and waist and the risk of prostate can­cer death, but no clear as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween to­tal body fat and risk of prostate can­cer death.

‘ It shows that fat located around the waist is more clin­i­cally im­por­tant than to­tal fat. This is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant be­cause as men age they tend to de­posit more fat around their waist. It is not just a prob­lem for slim­mer men with beer bel­lies. Obese men with high to­tal body fat will also have large waist mea­sure­ments.’

Prostate can­cer af­fects more than 57,000 men a year in the UK, killing 12,000. The Daily Mail has spent two decades cam­paign­ing for an im­prove­ment in treat­ments and di­ag­no­sis.

Some men de­velop prostate can­cer so slowly that it does not cause prob­lems, but other pa­tients have a fast-grow­ing form that needs ur­gent at­ten­tion.

Dr Perez-Cor­nago sug­gested ex­cess belly fat could cause the more ag­gres­sive type of tu­mour to de­velop, but added that more re­search was needed.

She said: ‘It could be that hav­ing ex­cess body fat pro­motes ag­gres­sive prostate can­cer cells.

But in men with a nor­mal waist cir­cum­fer­ence, this doesn’t hap­pen. Men with big­ger waist­lines could also be get­ting di­ag­nosed at a later and more ag­gres­sive stage be­cause they are less likely to go to GP. We know that obese men are less health con­scious.’

Many aca­demics be­lieve the waist cir­cum­fer­ence is a more ac­cu­rate in­di­ca­tor of obe­sity, type 2 di­a­betes and other dis­eases than the tra­di­tion­ally used BMI.

The NHS says that, re­gard­less of height or BMI, men should try to lose weight if their waist is over 37 inches (94cm).

And it says that men are at se­ri­ous risk of se­ri­ous health con­di­tions if their waists are over 40 inches (102cm).

Karis Betts, of Can­cer Re­search UK, said: ‘This large UK study sug­gests that the body fat around the waist, rather than to­tal body fat, could af­fect the chances of dy­ing from prostate can­cer. But both BMI and waist cir­cum­fer­ence as mea­sures of body fat aren’t per­fect, so there’s lots more work to do to un­tan­gle this com­pli­cated re­la­tion­ship.’

Dr Matthew Hobbs, di­rec­tor of re­search at Prostate Can­cer UK, said: ‘This new study sug­gests waist size is a more im­por­tant fac­tor than BMI when it comes to in­creas­ing your risk of dy­ing from prostate can­cer.

‘How­ever, th­ese sorts of sta­tis­ti­cal anal­y­ses are no­to­ri­ously com­pli­cated and we would need to see the full re­sults of the study to de­ter­mine whether or not this is true, and if so, how we can use this to help im­prove out­comes for men with the dis­ease.’

Two thirds of Bri­tish adults are obese or over­weight, threat­en­ing to undo decades of med­i­cal progress that has im­proved can­cer sur­vival rates.

The study’s find­ings were pre­sented yes­ter­day at the Euro­pean and In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Obe­sity.

‘Obese men are less health con­scious’


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