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Weight gain in men increases prostate cancer risk

Jenny Decker RN's picture

Obesity is a growing concern in America and it seems to be related to several health concerns. Add one more as researchers have found that weight gain in men increases prostate cancer risk, writes US News & World Report. However, the unique element about this study is that it is not all obese men. The increased risk of prostate cancer occurs at a specific time of the weight gain.

The timing of the weight gain seems to have an effect on prostate cancer. If a man was obese around the age of 21, his risk of localized and low-grade prostate cancer was lower. However if a man was white and in older adulthood, his risk was increased. This is the same for Native Hawaiian men. Japanese men enjoy a decreased risk of prostate cancer.

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Other risk factors for prostate cancer are numerous. The American Cancer Society lists age as the number one risk factor for prostate cancer, with the cancer being rare in men younger than 40. Race and ethnicity also play a role. African American men have the highest risk and are more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease. Asian Americans and Hispanic-Latinos are diagnosed less often than non-Hispanic whites.

Those of specific nations are at an increased risk of prostate cancer. These include North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean islands. It is not clear why these nationalities are at higher risk. Some have speculated that it may be lifestyle that is responsible, but research is yet to be conclusive in this area. Diet and exercise are important factors. Some studies have shown that older men who exercise numerous times a week and at higher levels actually decrease their risk.

Men are encouraged to get routine blood tests that check for the amount of prostate-specific antigen or PSA. A digital rectal exam is also done to check for the size of the prostate. Any abnormality with the PSA or the digital rectal exam is need for further testing. It is interesting to note that studies have shown that men often get prostate cancer by the time they are 80. Out of those studied, 70-90% of them did not even know they had the cancer, and neither did their doctors. Prostate cancer moves slowly and most men do not know they have it. Therefore, routine checkups are encouraged for men’s health.

The most common type of prostate cancer is called an adenocarcinoma. There are some other types, but they are generally rare. Weight gain in men that increases the risk of prostate cancer is a new discovery. It also adds to the list of the many health problems that obesity is linked too.



PSA testing for men has its advantages and disadvantages. It has been found that man undergoing PSA testing to avert prostate cancer, nearly fifty men have to go under treatments which was not needed and a some of such men would face grave troubles with the treatment. So one should take proper care and should have knowledge on it.