Obesity, Small Prostate Raise Risk of Cancer

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0,0

A US study reported findings that not only do obese menhave a higher risk of getting prostate cancer, but they are proneto more dangerous tumors. The study also showed anincreased risk in men with smaller prostates. The study wasconducted at a Veterans Affairs hospital in California from 1998to 2002. It included 787 men who had biopsies for suspectedprostate cancer and showed that obese men were more likelyto have positive results. Obese men also have more aggressivetumors, the study showed.

While it is often a slow-growing cancer that can be watchedwithout being treated, in some cases it can become aggressiveand spread quickly throughout the body. Doctors are trying todetermine which men need more immediate treatment. They suggestthat obese men are more prone to aggressive tumorsbecause obesity can interfere with testing for the disease. Fat cellsproduce estrogen-like compounds, which may interfere with levelsof prostate-specific antigen, a protein in the blood used to determinethe presence of cancer in men. Misread levels can give afalse reading of "all-clear," when in fact a tumor may be present.