(NaturalNews) A study published in November's The Lancet Oncology has revealed that overweight and obese men who were later diagnosed with prostate cancer are a lot more likely to die from the disease as compared to men with healthy weight. In addition, it also found that men with higher blood concentrations of C-peptide, which is a protein reflective of the amount of insulin secretion, who later get prostate cancer are also more likely to die from the disease as compared to men with lower levels of the protein.
While previous research had suggested a link between excess weight and higher risks of prostate cancer progression and disease-related death, specific associations relating being overweight and prostate cancer mortality were not so clear-cut. This study helps to concretize earlier findings. On top of that, it also reveals that the link is stronger then previously believed.
Further, by showing the link between high plasma concentrations of C-peptide before diagnosis of prostate cancer and the risk of dying from the disease, this study also goes some way toward revealing why obesity actually increases prostate cancer mortality.
Details of Study
Led by Jing Ma, MD, MPH, PhD, an Harvard researcher from the Department of Epidemiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital, the study team looked at data of 2,546 men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in the course of the 24-year follow-up of the Physician Health's Study. The Physician's Health Study is a large, long-term study which covered over 22,000 doctors.
Factors such as age and whether or not the subjects smoked were controlled for. Body mass index (BMI), C-peptide concentrations (a marker for insulin secretion; heavier men tend to produce more insulin) and whether or not the men died of prostate cancer were then analyzed for associations.
Findings of Study
The study found that prostate cancer sufferers who were overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9 kg for every square meter) before they were diagnosed with the disease had a 47% higher chance of dying from it, as compared to those in the healthy weight range. For men who were obese (BMI of 30 and above) before they were diagnosed with the disease, their risk was a hefty 2.66 times that of men with healthy weight. The trends were found to be significant even after controlling for clinical stage and Gleason grade.
Further, men with high C-peptide concentrations were also more likely to succumb to the disease. The prostate cancer mortality of those in the highest quartile was 2.38 times that of those in the lowest quartile. C-peptide concentrations give an indication of insulin levels, which in turn tends to be higher in heavier people.
When body weight and C-peptide concentrations were combined, the increase in risk becomes greatly magnified. Overweight or obese sufferers of prostate cancer with high C-peptide concentrations were 4.12 times as likely to die from the disease as compared to those with low C-peptide levels and normal body weight. This was after other clinical predictors were already accounted for.
As it is, obesity already comes with a host of health risks – stroke, heart disease, to name a couple. Now, there is one more reason to embrace healthier lifestyle and dietary habits to keep one's weight in check.
As Dr Ma puts it, the findings of this study gives 'further impetus for men to avoid becoming overweight and to decrease their risk of metabolic syndrome by physical activity and diet'.