A new study has shown that men who gain weight as young adults stand the risk of having prostate cancer later in life.
According to the study, men who gained an average of 1 kilogram yearly from the ages of 17 to 29 have an increased risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer by 13% and fatal prostate cancer by 27%.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Lund University, Malmö, Sweden, and the authors presented their findings at the European Congress on Obesity 2023, held in Dublin, Ireland.
While weight gain was associated with prostate cancer across adulthood, its incidence was driven more directly by weight gain in young adults.
For men gaining about 1.1 pounds (0.5 kilograms) over the course of their adult lives, the risk of aggressive cancer was increased by 10%, and the risk of fatal cancer rose by 29%.
Researchers tracked health data for 258,477 men, who had taken part in the Obesity and Disease Development Sweden study carried out from 1963 to 2014.
Each had been prostate cancer-free at the start of the ODDS study and weighed at least three times between the ages of 17 and 60 years.
For the new study, participants were followed up for an average of 43 years, until 2019, at which time cases of prostate cancer and deaths among the group were recorded.
Of the entire study cohort, 23,348 participants had been diagnosed with prostate cancer at an average age of 70 years, and 4,790 had died from it.
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men, after skin cancer,
Black men are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer than their white counterparts.
Reasons behind this are not fully understood, with theories ranging from disparities in healthcare access and socioeconomic status to the manner in which darker skin synthesizes Vitamin D.
The Medical Director of Urology at NY Urology, United States, Dr. David Shusterman, who is not involved in the recent study, told Medical News Today that “Not all prostate cancers are aggressive or fatal. In fact, many prostate cancers grow very slowly and may not cause any symptoms or health problems.”
According to him, the research is important because it highlights the potential long-term health consequences of weight gain during a specific age range.
In an exclusive interview with PUNCH Healthwise, a Dietician and Nutritionist, Obianuju Orjiekwe-Ezenkwele, said that there are many things that could cause prostate cancer and not just obesity, noting that the causes are multi-dimensional.
“There are so many things that can cause prostate cancer not just one factor. In as much as obesity doesn’t go well with cancer, it can predispose one to prostate cancer.
“If not controlled, it can even happen to a child. Obesity is not the only factor. Obesity plus other factors could predispose someone to prostate cancer,” she said.
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