Weight Found to Affect Prostate Cancer Outcome
A new study reports that overweight men with advanced prostate cancer seem not to live as long as those with normal body mass.
In the study, published online yesterday and scheduled to appear in the Dec. 15 issue of the journal Cancer, researchers looked at 788 men being given different types of therapies for prostate cancer. More than half were overweight or obese.
In an average eight-year follow-up, the overweight and obese patients were about 1.8 times as likely to die of prostate cancer as men of normal weight. The association persisted after controlling for type of treatment, age, race, cancer severity and other factors.
The reasons for the association are unclear, but the authors suggest that hormonal conditions of obesity may be conducive to severe prostate cancer, and that prostate treatment may be less successful in overweight men. (A stndv in The Journal of the American Medical Association last week found that overweight people are less likely than others to die of some diseases, but it did not specifically look at prostate cancer.) Dr. Matthew R. Smith, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard who was the senior researcher for the prostate study, said that though the subjects had the same treatment and follow-up, "this one variable — their body weight — had a dramatic impact on their outcome. Weight loss after diagnosis might reduce the risk. But this study doesn't prove that."