The cardiovascular and physical issues associated with a high body mass index and large waist circumference are well-known. Still, no research has shown that these two health issues can also cause aggressive prostate cancer until now.

The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) analysis was shown at the 2016 European Obesity Summit last June 1 to June 4. The researchers reported that men experienced a 10 percent increased risk of developing the aggressive high-grade prostate cancer for each 5 kg/m2 increase above the normal BMI. Moreover, a total of 13 percent increased high-grade prostate cancer risk was associated with every 10-centimeter increase in the men’s waist circumference.

The research team also found that every 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI lead to a 14 percent increased risk of developing fatal prostate cancer, a prostate cancer that can cause death. Meanwhile, every 10-centimeter increase in the waist circumference meant an 18 percent increased risk in developing fatal prostate cancer.

waist circumference

Researchers suggest for men to maintain a healthy weight to prevent prostate cancer. Credit: Wikimedia/Kyle Cassidy

Nevertheless, just like any other non-communicable diseases, several habits can help alleviate this health problem. The study recommends men to lead a healthy lifestyle and try to maintain a healthy weight.

“The findings from this large prospective study show that the association between body size and prostate cancer is complex and varies by disease aggressiveness,” the research authors point out in their study. “Men who have greater adiposity have an elevated risk of high-grade prostate cancer and prostate cancer death.”

The study involved nearly 150,000 men of 52 years of age on the average from Greece, the Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, and Germany. Researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK and other colleagues assessed the participants’ marital status, education level, smoking, physical activity as well as their diabetes diagnosis.

After 14 years, the follow-up assessments revealed that about 7,022 of these men were diagnosed with prostate cancer. A total of 934 men suffered from fatal prostate cancer.