Can Your Weight Increase the Chance of Prostate Cancer Recurrence?

Weight gain increases prostate cancer recurrence risk among men who have undergone a prostatectomy when compared with men who maintain a normal weight postsurgery, according to a Johns Hopkins study. This finding suggests men should make efforts to avoid weight gain as a way to help prevent the return or reemergence of prostate cancer.

Investigators evaluated 1,337 men who had undergone prostatectomy, all performed by the same surgeon, between 1993 and 2006. The men reported on their weight and level of physical activity both five years before and one year after prostatectomy on a survey that was conducted during follow-up (mean follow-up, 7.3 years).

Prostate cancer recurred in 102 men. An analysis showed that men who gained more than 2.2 kg (about 5 lbs) were twice as likely to have recurrence of prostate cancer than men who maintained normal weight. Investigators took into account factors such as age, stage, and grade of cancer. When they compared obesity at five years before and at one year after surgery with normal weight, they found the risk of recurrence was 1.2 times greater before surgery and 1.72 times greater after prostatectomy.

Overall, the researchers noted that men with prostate cancer who undergo prostatectomy may help avoid cancer recurrence if they do not gain weight after surgery. Men should discuss this issue with their healthcare providers and have a plan in place before surgery to prevent weight gain postsurgery, especially among men who are sedentary.

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 (Philadelphia) 2001 Feb 16

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