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Dr. Jamie Fettig

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Men's Health

Want to Avoid Prostate Cancer? Normalize Your Weight

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



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