Prostate Cancer Recurrence Risks?

Prostate cancer likes weight gain and continued smoking

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Following surgery to remove a cancerous prostate, the cure rate is extremely high among most men. Researchers now know two lifestyle factors can change those odds.

A new study has found that prostate cancer is more likely to return in men who smoke and those who gain weight.

The study led by scientists at Johns Hopkins University discovered that a weight gain of even five pounds near the time of a radical prostatectomy (removal of prostate) can double a man's risk of recurrence compared to men who maintain a steady weight. The same holds true for men who continue to smoke up to a year after their surgery.

"Lose weight and quit smoking to keep prostate cancer from coming back."

Researchers surveyed more than 1,300 men who had had a radical prostatectomy to treat early-stage prostate cancer. The men were followed for seven years following surgery. The questionnaires asked about their diets, weight changes and smoking habits.

Prostate cancer returned in 106 men of the men. The study found common lifestyle issues with those who saw the cancer come back:

  • Men who gained five or more pounds near the time of their surgery had a twofold greater risk of recurrence compared to men who maintained a steady weight
  • These risks increased and decreased with gains and losses in weight
  • The findings held true even in physically active men
  • Men who continued smoking after their diagnosis and up to a year following surgery were also twice as likely for the cancer to return
  • Men who quit smoking did not have this increased risk

Researchers can't say exactly why weight gain impacts these risks. They do say that additional study is needed, involving more men to look at this and other key questions relating to the likelihood of prostate cancer returning after treatment.

Study investigator, Johns Hopkins epidemiologist, Elizabeth Platz, Sc.D., M.P.H., says that even though all the answers aren't in, it just makes sense for men to not gain weight and quit smoking. These lifestyle changes will not only affect their cancer survival but improve their overall health and well-being.

This study was a collaborative effort between researchers at Johns Hopkins, National Cancer Institute and Duke University.

These findings were presented at the 2011 American Association for Cancer Research meeting. Until research is published in a peer-reviewed journal, results are considered preliminary.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 8, 2011
Last Updated:
August 9, 2011