Being Overweight Increases Risk for Prostate Cancer Recurrence

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Men who have been treated for early-stage prostate cancer should watch their weight if they’re worried about the cancer returning. A new study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2012 found an association between being overweight and an increased risk for prostate cancer recurrence.

Previous research has indicated a relationship between excess weight and prostate cancer risk.

A Duke University Medical Center study, for example, reported that among men with prostate cancer who were treated with hormone therapy, those who were overweight or obese had a higher risk of worsening prostate cancer than did men of normal weight. A Johns Hopkins study reported that weight gain increases prostate cancer recurrence after prostatectomy.

In the new study, Vincent L. Freeman, MD, MPH, associate professor in epidemiology and biostatistics in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois, and his team evaluated body mass index (BMI) and risk of prostate cancer recurrence in 119 men scheduled for surgery for localized prostate cancer. Factors considered included results of physical exam, prostate cancer biopsy results, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level.

Men with the highest BMI were nearly eight times more likely to have prostate cancer at moderate to high risk for recurrence after treatment than men who had the lowest BMI. However, even men in the lower-middle range of BMI had 3.5 times more risk, indicating “the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight to reduce cancer risk throughout adulthood,” noted Freeman.

Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.


Joshu CE et al. Weight gain is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer recurrence after prostatectomy in the PSA era. Cancer Prevention Research (Phila) 2001 Apr; 4(4): 544-51