Obese Patients More Likely to Experience Prostate Cancer Relapse

FEBRUARY 01, 2006
Susan Farley

According to a new study published in the journal Urology, a recurrent malignancy is more likely following a prostatectomy in obese men compared with men of normal weight. While linking obesity and the incidence of prostate cancer is still considered controversial, 2 studies have found the disease recurrence more common in obese men. One data review included 2131 men who had undergone radical prostatectomy. Over about a 2-year period, 12% of the men experienced a recurrence of the disease. Men whose body mass index (BMI) was greater than 35 were 69% more likely to have a recurrence of prostate cancer than men who had a BMI of 25 or less; men with a BMI greater than 30 had a 31% increased risk of disease recurrence. Researchers suggest that the effect of excess fat on hormone levels may be responsible, along with the difficulty involved in operating on an obese patient. More research is necessary, they write, as is vigilant follow-up care for obese patients who have undergone a radical prostatectomy.

Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.