Obese Adolescent Boys At Risk Of Prostate Cancer Later In Life, Study Shows

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According to recent research from Sweden, young men who experience substantial weight gain in their early years face a nearly 30% higher risk of developing prostate cancer. In addition, the study suggests that weight gain during adolescence and early adulthood raises the chances of developing potentially fatal tumours in later stages of life.

Prostate cancer linked to obesity 

The study, which tracked participants over 43 years, revealed important findings that could aid in the fight against the second most fatal cancer in men. The analysis included over 250,000 individuals and could potentially make a significant impact. In 2023, doctors in the United States are expected to identify approximately 288,300 new cases of prostate cancer, as reported by the American Cancer Society.

Understanding the underlying causes of prostate cancer is crucial for its prevention. Dr Marisa da Silva, the lead author of the study conducted at Lund University, emphasizes the significance of identifying modifiable risk factors to combat this disease. While factors like advancing age, familial predisposition, and specific genetic markers are well-established risks and cannot be altered, uncovering risk factors amenable to change becomes imperative.

Aggressive cancer forms common in overweight individuals

Prostate cancer varies in its growth rate and potential harm, with some forms being slow-growing and non-threatening. In contrast, others are aggressive and challenging to treat, spreading rapidly to other organs. Excessive body fat has been consistently associated with these aggressive types of cancer. However, the exact reasons behind this link have remained unclear. Past studies often failed to consider cancer’s aggressiveness and relied on single-point body fat measurements.

According to Dr. da Silva, prior studies have linked higher levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a cellular growth and development hormone, to an increased prostate cancer risk. The hormone tends to be elevated in individuals with obesity, and significant weight gain may contribute to both the increase in IGF-1 levels and the progression of cancer. However, Dr. da Silva concludes that it remains unclear whether the weight gain or its prolonged duration is the primary contributor to the link.

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