Want to Avoid Prostate Cancer? Normalize
Higher rates of obesity may help to explain why black
men tend to have more advanced prostate cancer at younger
ages than men of other ethnic groups.
Black men are known to have higher rates of prostate
cancer and higher mortality rates from prostate cancer
than whites and Asians. Whether genes or environmental
factors such as dietary fat and excess body weight are
responsible, however, is not clear.
Researchers reviewed medical data from 860 patients
with advanced prostate cancer and found 21% of the men
were obese and 49% were overweight.
Obese patients were more likely to have undergone radical
prostatectomy at a younger average age, to have an elevated
Gleason score -- a method used to classify the aggressiveness
of prostate cancer -- and to have had their cancer spread
to other organs.
Blacks, who had the highest average body mass index
compared to whites and Asians, also had the most advanced
cancers. Body mass index is a measurement of weight
in relation to height.
Body fat is thought to serve as a reservoir for male
hormones and proteins that may promote the growth of
tumors. Excess body fat can also inhibit certain immune
system cells that normally prevent tumors from progressing.
Urology November 2001;58:723-728