Weight Loss Cuts Prostate Cancer Risk
Study: Aggressive Prostate Cancer May Be Less Common in Men Who Lose Weight
WebMD News Archive
Dec. 22, 2006 -- Men who lose weight may be less likely to get aggressive
while obesity may increase a
So say researchers, including Carmen Rodriguez, MD, MPH, of the American
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer (except for skin
cancer) in U.S. men, becoming more common with age.
This study is the first to probe links between a man's adult weight change
and prostate cancer risk.
In 1992, Rodriguez and colleagues asked nearly 70,000 U.S. men about their
current weight and their weight 10 years earlier.
The researchers then tracked new prostate cancer cases among the men from
1992 to 2003.
Those who reported losing at least 11 pounds from 1982 to 1992 were about
40% less likely to develop aggressive (but nonmetastatic) prostate cancer
between 1992 and 2003 than those with little weight change in the 1982-1992
Weight and Prostate Cancer
"Our study linking obesity to aggressive prostate cancer adds to
increasing evidence of the importance of maintaining a healthy weight
throughout life," Rodriguez says in an American Cancer Society news
"Although our study suggests that weight
loss may lower the risk of aggressive prostate cancer, given the
difficulty of losing weight, emphasis should be put on the importance of
avoiding weight gain to reduce the risk of prostate cancer," she says.
Prostate Cancer Study
Most of the men who took part in the study were 55-74 years old in 1992.
None had had cancer other than
nonmelanoma skin cancer
The men reported their height and weight. Using those figures, the
researchers calculated the men's BMI (body mass index), an indication of
Nearly two-thirds of the men were overweight or obese in 1992. Thirty-six
percent had normal BMI, 50% were overweight, and 14% were obese.
In 1992, most of the men -- 44% -- reported little weight change in the past
decade, gaining or losing 5 pounds or fewer.
Twenty-one percent said they had lost more than 5 pounds, and 35% said they
had gained 5 or more pounds between 1982 and 1992.
Tracking Prostate Cancer
By the middle of 2003, 5,252 men reported being diagnosed with prostate
cancer. Most cases weren't aggressive.
Men who had lost weight between 1982 and 1992 were less likely to have been
diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer, the study shows.
The results held when the researchers took other factors into account --
including age, race, family history of prostate cancer, smoking, diabetes, and physical
The researchers' conclusion: "Men who lose weight may reduce their risk
of prostate cancer."
The men reported their own weight and height; those measurements weren't
The data don't show which men had been overweight or obese since childhood.
So the lifelong influence of obesity on prostate cancer
risk isn't clear from this study.
The researchers didn't assign anyone to lose weight, so this was an
observational study rather than a direct test of weight
loss for prostate cancer prevention.
The study appears online in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers &
Men who want to lose weight should consult their doctor for advice.