According to a recent study, the higher levels of abdominal and thigh fat are linked to an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
The findings of the study were published online in a peer-reviewed journal called Cancer of the American Cancer Society.
The study findings may help in understanding the connection between obesity and prostate cancer, which can eventually provide new insights for treatment.
Previous studies have found that obesity is linked to an elevated risk of advanced prostate cancer with a poor prognosis after diagnosis. Also, there is strong evidence suggesting that the specific fat distribution in the body could be a crucial factor.
To provide strong evidence, Dr. Barbra Dickerman, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, along with her colleagues, analyzed body fat distribution and assessed the risk of getting diagnosed or dying from prostate cancer. They looked at more than 1,800 Icelandic men for up to 13 years.
More than 170 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and 31 died from the disease during the study.
The researchers found that the fat accumulation in certain areas of the body – such as abdomen and thigh – was associated with an increased risk of advanced prostate cancer. They also found that men with high body mass index (BMI) and high waist circumference were associated with an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
Dr. Dickerman said, “Interestingly, when we looked separately at men with a high BMI versus low BMI, we found that the association between visceral fat and advanced and fatal prostate cancer was stronger among men with a lower BMI. The precision of these estimates was limited in this subgroup analysis, but this is an intriguing signal for future research.”
Additional studies are required to investigate the exact role of fat accumulation in causing prostate cancer.
Dr. Dickerman added, “Ultimately, identifying the patterns of fat distribution that are associated with the highest risk of clinically significant prostate cancer may help to elucidate the mechanisms linking obesity with aggressive disease and target men for intervention strategies.” The researchers concluded that lifestyle interventions, such as diet and exercise, could help reduce fat, thereby reducing the risk of prostate cancer.