Obesity and Prostate Cancer

Looks like this week is about obesity and men’s health. So after blogging about male self-esteem and erectile dysfunction, what about obesity and risk for prostate cancer?

Well, after a quick search of the literature, I can happily state that the data on this is pretty inconsistent.

Probably the best study, a prospective cohort study in 34,754 men residing in Washington State (aged 50-76 years at baseline) studied by Alyson Littman and colleagues from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, succeeded in confusing me more than providing any definitive answers.

Thus, while on one hand obese men had a reduced risk of nonaggressive disease, overweight (but not obese) men, had an increased risk of aggressive disease. Body mass index of >25 at age 18 years was associated with increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer; obesity at ages 30 and 45, but not 18, years was associated with reduced risk of nonaggressive prostate cancer.

I can only concur with the authors, who conclude that this study demonstrates the complexity of prostate cancer epidemiology and the importance of examining risk factors by tumor characteristics.

So is obesity a significant risk factor for prostate cancer? I guess the answer is “depends”.

Edmonton, Alberta