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Prostate Cancer: The 10 cm that increases the risk by 40%

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Overall weight gain and waist circumference regardless of total weight are factors in increasing the risk of prostate cancer, according to new research

Excessive thickness not only increases the risk of developing prostate cancer, according to new research published in Cancer, but is also linked to a more aggressive and deadly form of the disease.

Scientists have found that the accumulation of visceral fat (the fat deep in the abdomen that surrounds vital organs) and subcutaneous fat in the thighs (the fat just below the skin) were directly linked to an increased risk of advanced prostate cancer and death from disease.

The researchers measured abdominal and femoral fat by computed tomography in 1,800 healthy men with a mean age of 76 years. In addition, they measured their waist circumference and body mass index (BMI), an obesity index based on a person’s height and weight.

After about 10 years, about 170 men had developed prostate cancer. Those with a larger waist diameter and BMI were more likely to develop the disease at an advanced stage or even risk dying from it. 

Specifically, an increase in BMI by five points was associated with a 50% higher risk for both cases, and a 10 cm increase in waist circumference with a 40% higher risk. 

Excess visceral fat was also associated with a 31% higher chance of developing advanced prostate cancer. Subcutaneous fat in the thighs was associated with a 37% increase in the chances of dying from prostate cancer.

Another interesting finding was that the association of visceral fat with the development of advanced or fatal cancer was stronger in men with lower BMI. This means that even men with a normal BMI may be at a higher risk for aggressive prostate cancer, depending on where their extra fat is stored, according to the researchers.

Finally, they noted that the findings may help identify men more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer, while also stressing the importance of maintaining a healthy weight in the overall prevention and management of the disease.

Image Credit: Getty

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