Obesity linked to more aggressive prostate cancer

In collaboration with the Press Association

Prostate cancer patients with higher body mass indices (BMI) are more likely to have 'high grade' tumours that are more likely to spread, according to a large US study.

Prostate cancer can be either fast-growing or relatively stable, and many older men with low-grade tumours are often able to live out their lives without requiring treatment.

But it is difficult to tell at diagnosis whether a man's tumour will be aggressive or not, and what is the most appropriate course of action to take.

A growing body of evidence has accumulated over the past five years suggesting that men with a high BMI tend to have more aggressive disease, but hard evidence has proved elusive.

This latest study enrolled 69,991 men in 1982 and followed their health and BMI data over 20 years. It showed that men with the highest BMI who developed prostate cancer had a higher risk of aggressive disease than men with an average body weight.

It is the first study to look at the different grades of prostate cancer in men of differing BMI.

A Cancer Research UK spokesperson welcomed the results.

"This study underlines the fact that maintaining a healthy bodyweight can reduce your risk of several cancers, including high grade prostate cancer," said Henry Scowcroft, senior information officer at Cancer Research UK.

The study is published in Cancer Epidemiology and Biomarkers.