Carrying weight around the middle confirmed as serious prostate cancer risk

Now a new study by the University of Oxford has found that carrying weight around the middle is a serious prostate cancer risk. For men who are overweight every extra four inches on the waist increases the risk of death from prostate cancer by seven per cent. The latest research found that cutting the average male body mass index (BMI) by five points (about 2.5 stone for the average man), would save 1300 lives a year. Further, scientists suggest that a typical man should try to keep their waistline below 36 inches to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

The 36 inch target

Almost seven in 10 men in Britain are overweight or obese with forecasts warning that the UK will have the worst obesity levels in Europe within a decade. Separate research has indicated that one in 41 men in the UK will die of prostate cancer. 

Scientists have previously suggested that excess fat around the middle could be a factor for prostate cancer but earlier studies were too small to draw firm conclusions. This new research is the largest of it's kind, including 2.5 million men. It looked at 19 studies, including one from the UK Biobank involving 218,000 men, who were tracked for 12 years.

Fate of stomach fat

Dr Aurora Perez-Cornago, the study’s lead author from the University of Oxford, said: “Knowing more about factors that increase the risk of prostate cancer is key to preventing it. The key message is if you are a healthy weight, try to maintain it, and if you are already obese or overweight, try to lose weight.”

The study, which is being published in the journal BMC Medicine and is funded by Cancer Research UK, comes alongside NHS advice urging people to keep waistlines to less than half of their height to stay in good health.

Draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence encouraged everyone to get out a tape measure and tackle stomach fat, in order to cut the risk of a host of health problems.

Consultant Urologist, Mr Andrew Ballaro says, "Around 75% of prostate cancer deaths are recorded in men over the age of 75 but due to improved medical diagnostics and treatments eight out of ten patients will now survive their prostate cancer for longer than five years".

Different forms of prostate treatment based on cell proliferation

In his article, How Aggressive is my Prostate Cancer? Mr Ballaro goes onto explain, "The critical factor with regard to prostate cancer is that these cancers vary considerably between different patients in their level of threat or aggressiveness and this is is mostly down to a factor known as 'Cell Proliferation' or 'Cell Cycle Proliferation (CCP)'. Up until recently it has been difficult for urologists to accurately measure the tumour cell proliferation and this can be problematic. There are a range of treatment options and clearly those more aggressive tumours showing higher rates of cell proliferation require more aggressive treatment".

Expert advice on losing weight

reducing belly fat and prostate riskConsultant nutritionist, Stephanie Moore in her article, 5 Myths About Weight Loss provides guidance for anyone seeking to shed the pounds and wishing to avoid the usual traps - especially with regard to 'protein only' and 'diet foods'.

See also - If you are becoming increasingly preoccupied with eating healthy food to the exclusion of any food that does not fit within your list of rules, then you could be suffering from an eating disorder called orthorexia.

A measure of whether a person’s weight is normal, too high or too low. It is calculated by dividing their weight in kilograms by the square of their height in metres. Full medical glossary
Abnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of all living organisms. Full medical glossary
One of the three main food constituents (with carbohydrate and protein), and the main form in which energy is stored in the body. Full medical glossary
An animal or plant that supports a parasite. Full medical glossary
Myocardial infarction. Death of a segment of heart muscle, which follows interruption of its blood supply. Full medical glossary
Excess accumulation of fat in the body. Full medical glossary

An eating disorder characterised by extreme or excessive preoccupation with eating food believed to be healthy.

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A craving to eat non-food substances such as earth or coal. Full medical glossary
A gland that surrounds the urethra near the bladder. It produces a fluid that forms part of the semen. Full medical glossary
Compounds that form the structure of muscles and other tissues in the body, as well as comprising enzymes and hormones. Full medical glossary
the organ or the body where food is stored and broken down Full medical glossary
An abnormal swelling. Full medical glossary
A specialist in the treatment of diseases of the urinary tract, the channels that carry urine from the kidneys to the outside of the body. Full medical glossary