Being overweight and having a large waistline can increase the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Oxford discovered that every 4-inch (10cm) increase in waist circumference can increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men, by 13 per cent.
Large waistlines are also linked closely to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can reduce the amount of visceral fat on your waistline and keep your Body Mass Index (BMI) lower, while limiting alcohol intake and stress levels can help keep your waistline down.
The report also highlighted that having a higher BMI increases the risk of developing a fatal strand of prostate cancer.
The study involved an analysis of 140,000 men across eight European countries who had a mean age of 52 years. The researchers examined the association between body measurements of men aged between 50-60 years and their prostate cancer risk over 14 years.
After 14 years, 7,000 cases of prostate cancer were identified; 934 were fatal. A higher risk of death from prostate cancer was observed among participants who had increased BMI and increased waist circumference.
A spokesman for Prostate Cancer UK said: “Maintaining a healthy weight and staying active can protect against many diseases, including cancer.
“This research adds to a growing body of evidence that shows that weight and waist size could be another crucial risk factor for men to be aware of when it comes to protecting themselves against prostate cancer.”
Study author Dr Aurora Perez-Cornago added that association between prostate cancer and body size was possibly due to cancer-causing hormones in body fat cells, but further research would be needed to confirm this.
Thea Cunningham, health information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: “It isn’t clear whether excess weight itself is causing men to develop aggressive prostate cancers, or if prostate cancers are less likely to be picked up at an early stage in overweight men, meaning their prostate cancer may be aggressive or advanced by the time it is diagnosed.
“Keeping a healthy weight can help men reduce their risk of several other cancers including bowel cancer.”
The findings were presented at the European Obesity Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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