A new study has suggested that hundreds of lives are being lost to prostate cancer because of high levels of obesity among men.

More than 1,300 prostate cancer deaths could potentially be prevented every year in the UK if the average man was not overweight, researchers claimed.

While obesity has been linked to other 13 cancers – including stomach, liver, pancreas and kidney cancers – the association between prostate cancer and weight has only just started to be unpicked by scientists.

The new study, which is being presented at the European Congress on Obesity in the Netherlands and published in the journal BMC Medicine, saw academics carry out fresh research as well as review previous data on the topic.

Bromsgrove Advertiser: Over a thousand deaths per year in the UK could be prevented through weight loss (PA)Over a thousand deaths per year in the UK could be prevented through weight loss (PA)

 

In the new study, researchers examined data on 218,237 men enrolled in the UK Biobank study whose body mass index score (BMI), waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio were taken when they first enrolled in the study.

The participants were tracked for an average of 12 years, with 661 men dying from prostate cancer during the follow-up period.

After analysing the health data on the men who died from prostate cancer, and comparing it to those who did not, the researchers found that for every five additional points on a man’s BMI score they were 7% more likely to die from prostate cancer.

Additionally, they had a 6% higher risk of dying of prostate cancer for every additional 4in (10cm) on their waistline.

Meanwhile researchers also performed an analysis of previous studies which examined information on almost 20,000 men who died from prostate cancer.

These studies suggested that for every five additional points on a man’s BMI score they were 10% more likely to die from prostate cancer, and an additional 4in (10cm) waist size carried a 7% higher risk.

Bromsgrove Advertiser: The link between obesity and prostate cancer has only just begun to be unpacked (PA)The link between obesity and prostate cancer has only just begun to be unpacked (PA)

While the mechanisms behind the findings are still unknown, researchers said the study still suggests that men should try to maintain a healthy weight.

“Knowing more about factors that increase the risk of prostate cancer is key to preventing it,” said Dr Aurora Perez-Cornago, from the University of Oxford, who led the research.

“Age, family history and black ethnicity are known risk factors but they are not modifiable, and so it is important to discover risk factors that it is possible to change.”

Every year in the UK around 11,900 men die from prostate cancer.

And the researchers said that men aged 55 to 64 have an average BMI score of 28.9 – which classes them as overweight.

Based on their findings, they calculated that if men were able to shave five points from their BMI score an estimated 1,309 fewer prostate cancer deaths would happen every year in Britain.