Prostate Cancer in Obese Men Less Treatable

Prostate cancer behaves differently in different people. Although prostate cancer is generally slow growing, there are cases where it can growth fast and spread rapidly. In the same manner, there are people who responds well with treatment but there are also other who respond very slowly and would require more aggressive treatments.

According to a study[1] by researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Hudson, men who are overweight or obese do not respond well to radiation treatment and may need more aggressive treatment for prostate cancer.

Previous studies shows that obese tend to have more aggressive ailments and have higher chances for complications. Thus, according to statistics, obese men have higher risk of dying with prostate cancer than those who are not simply.

Obese men are also more likely to have a malignancy that continues after a prostatectomy, a surgery to remove all or part of the prostate. This makes prostate cancer in obese men more difficult to manage compared to men with regular body weight and structure.

This study is the first to examine the relationship between obesity and prostate cancer progression after primary therapy with external beam radiotherapy, a common treatment option.

The researchers sought to determine whether obesity is an independent predictor of biochemical failure – a rising prostate specific antigen (PSA) level that can indicate advancing cancer – and they also wanted to know if the cancer actually progressed among those patients.

“Together, these studies confirm that a man’s body mass index (BMI = weight/height2) can be a significant factor in how well he fares after standard treatments for prostate cancer,” says the lead researcher of both studies, Sara Strom, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology.

“The fact that the same association was found among patients with different risk profiles, and who were treated with different therapies, would suggest that poorer outcomes in obese men are not related to differences in treatment as much as to differences in tumor behavior between obese and non-obese men,” she says.

Strom adds that these findings suggest that obese prostate cancer patients should be followed more closely after treatment.

“When patients and their physicians are uncertain about the need for further therapy, our research indicates that a man’s weight should be factored into that decision,” she says.

Causes

At present, scientist really doesnt have a clear explanation why men who are obese dont respond well with radiation treatment. A study examining the relationship between obesity and the progress of cancer after external-bean radiotherapy is now on going in many research cancer research centers. Initial findings show that as the patients body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height) increased, a corresponding increase in the risk of disease progression is observed after radiation therapy.

The bad news is, the risk of tumor recurrence or metastasis in obese men is about 70% higher than those who are not obese. Often times, diabetes and heart problems would also complicate the treatment process in obese men. With the odds against obese men with prostate cancer, most doctors would often recommend more aggressive treatments for them.

Diet and Lifestyle

As prostate cancer is closely associated with the persons diet and lifestyle, experts recommend that men who are approaching the age of 45 should double their effort on watching what they eat. Studies[2, 3], show that men who eat plenty of red meat are more likely to get prostate cancer than those who eat plenty of fish, fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables, which are rich in lycopenes, like tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon could reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Eating 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables would greatly improve a persons health and would also help reduce unwanted weights. As fruits and vegetables are mostly fibers, the body can easily digest the same. The more fiber in your diet, the more efficient will be your body to digest food and regularly discharge toxins out of your system. Having plenty of fibers in your diet promotes regular bowel movement.

Men who do not regularly exercise and eats unhealthy food would more likely to be obese that those who are active. Studies show that men who spend more time in front of the TV or the computer are more prone to frequent snacking.

What aggravates the situation is that the snacks usually contain junk foods and beverages loaded with calories. Frequent snacking and no exercise would eventually lead to obesity, which can lead to a lot of troubles including prostate cancer.

References

1. Sara S. Strom, Ashish M. Kamat, Stephen K. Gruschkus, Yun Gu, Sijin Wen, Min Rex Cheung, Louis L. Pisters, Andrew K. Lee, Charles J. Rosser, Deborah A. Kuban
Influence of obesity on biochemical and clinical failure after external-beam radiotherapy for localized prostate cancer
Cancer, Volume 107, Issue 3 , Pages 631 639 DOI: 10.1002/cncr.22025

2. E Giovannucci, EB Rimm, GA Colditz, MJ Stampfer
A Prospective Study of Dietary Fat and Risk of Prostate Cancer
jnci, 2019 – jnci.oxfordjournals.org 85, No. 19, 1571-1579, October 6, 1993

3. A Tavani, C La Vecchia, S Gallus, P Lagiou
RED MEAT INTAKE AND CANCER RISK: A STUDY IN ITALY
Int J Cancer, 2000

Image: Operation for carcinoma of the prostate using minimally invasive robotic surgery. Wellcome Images, Creative Commons License