Men with beer bellies more likely to die of prostate cancer, study finds

Sep 02, 2020
Men carrying extra weight may be at a greater risk of dying from prostate cancer. Source: Getty.

Men who carry more fat around their belly are more likely to die from prostate cancer, a new study has found. In Australia, more than 3,200 men die every year from prostate cancer, making it the second most deadly cause of cancer in men (after lung cancer).

The study of more than 200,000 UK men, which was presented at this year’s European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO), found that there is a link between how much body fat men have around the belly and waist and the risk of death from prostate cancer.

To better understand the relationship between body fat and prostate cancer, researchers from the University of Oxford analysed data on 218,225 men aged 40 to 69, who were free from cancer. Their health was followed for 10.8 years.

During the follow-up period, 571 men died from prostate cancer. The researchers discovered that while there was no clear association of BMI with risk, there was a positive link between measures of central adiposity (amount of body fat) and risk of prostate cancer death. They found those in the top 25 per cent for waist circumference were 35 per cent more likely to die of prostate cancer than men in the bottom 25 per cent.

Dr Aurora Perez-Cornago, who led the study, confirmed the study’s findings but said more research is needed.

“We found a significant association between [the] concentration of body fat around the belly and waist and the risk of prostate cancer death, but no clear association between total body fat and risk of prostate cancer death,” she said. “However, a larger number of cases in this study together with studies in other populations are needed to confirm these findings.”

Dr Perez-Cornago continued: “A high BMI increases the risk of other diseases, including other types of cancer, so people should consider the implications of excess body fat wherever it is found in the body. Future work will examine associations between adiposity and aggressive types of prostate cancer, including advanced-stage and high-grade disease.”

It comes after Starts at 60 spoke to physiotherapist Andrew Wynd from Balwyn Sports and Physiotherapy Centre in Victoria about easy ways to get rid of a beer belly. He explained why older people are more prone to a beer belly, what diet and lifestyle factors can contribute to a person getting a beer belly and what exercises are the best when it comes to beating a beer belly.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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