Oncology Central

Body weight and risk of prostate cancer – the WCRF perspective


In this Oncology Central exclusive, Dr Kate Allen, Executive Director Science and Public Affairs, World Cancer Research Fund International, gives her perspective on the latest evidence from their Continuous Update Project, which has revealed that men who are overweight or obese are at a greater risk of developing advanced prostate cancers.

More than 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK each year and over 10,000 die from the disease. Furthermore, many men live with the disease and the side effects of treatment for a long time. UK prostate cancer sufferers account for nearly a fifth of all cancer patients 5 years after diagnosis. This is, therefore, a hugely important disease.

The latest evidence from World Cancer Research Fund’s Continuous Update Project (CUP) ‘Diet, nutrition, physical activity and prostate cancer’ report has, for the first time, found a strong link between being overweight /obese and advanced prostate cancer. We estimate that approximately 10% of advanced prostate cancer cases in the UK could be prevented, if men kept a healthy weight.

In primary care there are issues about how best to tackle the disease. Difficulties start with the screening process. There have been concerns that screening with PSA testing can do more harm than good. On the other hand, men are understandably concerned about their prostate cancer risk and often want to be tested, regardless of any issues that may exist around the screening process.

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