Weighing Heavy on Prostate Cancer Return

Prostate cancer recurrence greater with higher BMI

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

(RxWiki News) Having excess pounds compromises the health and well-being of men, women and children. This fact has been proven time and again. Being overweight or obese not only increases one's risk of most chronic diseases, it also complicates recovery.

Men who carry around too much weight are more likely to have a recurrence (return) of prostate cancer following treatment.

"Stay active throughout your life to help maintain your ideal weight."

Vincent L. Freeman, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor in the division of epidemiology and biostatistics in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois, presented the findings of a cross-sectional study at the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2012.

Dr. Freeman summarized the results of this study: “Men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer and who have excess body weight  as indicated by a higher-than-normal body mass index (BMI) have an increased risk for cancer recurrence after treatment."

Researchers worked with 119 men who were about to have surgery for localized (had not spread) prostate cancer. The team examined and analyzed the relationship between the BMI (a measure of weight relative to height) and the likelihood of the cancer returning following treatment.

The analysis included several factors - blood prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, physical exam, clinical tumor stage  and biopsy results. These measures were used to calculate a man's risk of recurrence as high, moderate or low.

The risk of recurrence increased with increasing BMI scores. Men with a BMI of 37  were almost eight times more likely to have cancer return than men with BMI scores of less than 25, which is considered normal weight.  Men with a BMI that categorized them as overweight (25 - 29.9) were also at greater risk.

Freeman explained, “The association was not limited to obese men; even being just overweight based on BMI was associated with an increased risk for prostate cancer recurrence.”

These results suggest to Freeman and his colleagues that body weight and lifestyle could be indicators of high-risk cases of prostate cancer.

“Our findings also highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight throughout adulthood,” Freeman concluded.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute. 

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Review Date: 
April 3, 2012
Last Updated:
April 3, 2012