Obesity
A new study by Oxford University has found that men with increased waistline and BMI can face higher threat of developing prostate cancerREUTERS/David Gray

Having a high BMI and a large waist circumference has been linked with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Researchers at Oxford University said for every four inch increase in waistline, the risk of developing the disease goes up by 18%. The team also found having a high body mass index (BMI) ups the risk of dying from prostate cancer.

Scientists looked at data on almost 150,000 men with an average age of 52 from eight countries in Europe. After 14 years, they found over 7,000 of them had developed prostate cancer, of which 943 men died.

They focused on aggressive forms of prostate cancer. Findings, presented at the European Obesity Summit in Gothenburg, showed men with a higher BMI and waist circumference were more likely to get an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

The authors conclude: "The findings from this large prospective study show that the association between body size and prostate cancer is complex and varies by disease aggressiveness; men who have greater adiposity have an elevated risk of high grade prostate cancer and prostate cancer death."

Lead author Dr Aurora Perez-Cornago, said: "It's really important for men to try and 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; men who have greater adiposity have an elevated risk of high grade prostate cancer and prostate cancer death."

Reiterating that being healthy and active helps protect against several diseases, Simon Grieveson from Prostate Cancer UK said: "This research adds to a growing body of evidence that shows that weight and waist size could be another crucial risk factor for men to be aware of when it comes to protecting themselves against prostate cancer.

"These findings may give doctors another warning sign to look out for. Importantly, unlike the other known risk factors, being overweight is a risk factor that men can proactively do something to change."

According to Cancer Research UK, which has funded this study, it is thought that more than one in 20 cancers in the UK are associated with obesity and weight issues.

In UK, more than 45,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, with at least 10,000 deaths reported annually.