Increased risk of deadly prostate cancer associated with weight gain during late adolescence and early adulthood. Effects of obesity .

prostate cancer weight gain

Prostate cancer ranks as the second most prevalent cancer among men worldwide, with over 1.4 million cases diagnosed each year. Weight Gain / Obesity associated with prostate cancer is a growing topic of discussion these days:

Recent approaches in Prostate Cancer studies:

Recent findings presented at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) held in Dublin, Ireland, shed light on a significant correlation between weight gain during the late teenage and early twenties period in men and an increased risk of mortality from prostate cancer in later years. The study, based on an extensive analysis of data encompassing over 250,000 men in Sweden, further revealed a noteworthy association between overall prostate cancer development, as well as the occurrence of aggressive and fatal forms of the disease, with weight gain throughout a man’s lifespan.

prostate cancer
weight gain

Source: TRS

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The period between 17 and 29 years of age was identified as the critical timeframe for weight gain, which was found to be linked to the occurrence of aggressive and fatal prostate cancer. Globally, prostate cancer stands as the second most prevalent cancer among men, with over 1.4 million cases diagnosed each year. In Sweden, it ranks as the most common cancer in men, with approximately 10,000 new cases annually, and represents the primary cause of cancer-related deaths in males, claiming around 2,000 lives each year.

Recent data on Prevalence:

Prostate cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer among men in the UK, with approximately 52,000 new cases diagnosed annually. It stands as the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in males, resulting in nearly 12,000 fatalities each year. Dr. Marisa da Silva, an expert from Lund University’s Department of Translational Medicine in Malmo, Sweden, emphasizes the significance of understanding the factors that contribute to prostate cancer in order to prevent its occurrence. While certain well-established risk factors like age, family history, and genetic markers are beyond modification, it is crucial to identify modifiable risk factors.

Additionally, while some prostate cancers progress slowly and may not pose significant harm during a man’s lifetime, others are aggressive, spreading rapidly beyond the prostate and presenting challenges in treatment. It is crucial to ascertain whether these aggressive forms share the same risk factors or differ from slower-growing types.

Prior research has provided strong evidence linking excess body fat to an increased risk of fatal prostate cancer. However, the association between body fat and prostate cancer overall remains somewhat unclear. Many previous studies have relied on one-time measurements of body fat without assessing aggressiveness. To gain further insights into the relationship between weight and prostate cancer, Dr. da Silva and her colleagues conducted an analysis using data from the Obesity and Disease Development Sweden (ODDS) study, involving 258,477 men whose weight was measured at least three times between the ages of 17 and 60.

Weight measurements were collected objectively (83%), subjectively (5%), or recalled (12%). The participants, initially free of prostate cancer when they enrolled in the ODDS study between 1963 and 2014, were followed up until 2019, with a median follow-up period of 43 years. During this period, prostate cancer diagnoses and deaths were recorded, with 23,348 participants being diagnosed with prostate cancer at an average age of 70, and 4,790 men succumbing to the disease.

On average, the participants experienced a weight gain of 0.45 kg/year during a median span of 16 years between their first and last weight measurements. The highest weight gain was observed during early adulthood, averaging 0.73 kg/year (1.6 lbs/year) between the ages of 17 and 29, followed by 0.34 kg/year (0.75 lbs/year) between 30 and 44, and 0.22 kg/year (0.5 lbs/year) between 45 and 60. The study found a correlation between weight gain and both the development and aggressiveness of prostate cancer.

Comparing weight gain (over half a kilogram or 1.1 lbs per year) to stable weight over a man’s lifetime, the researchers observed a 10% increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer and a 29% increased risk of fatal prostate cancer. Further analysis revealed that the link between weight gain and prostate cancer was predominantly influenced by weight gain occurring between the ages of 17 and 29. For instance, a man who gains 1 kg (2.2 lbs) per year during this specific age range, resulting in a total weight gain of 13 kg (21 lbs), faces a 13% higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer and a 27% higher risk of fatal prostate cancer.

Dr. da Silva highlighted previous research indicating that elevated levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a hormone involved in cell growth and development, have been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. People with obesity tend to have higher levels of this hormone, and significant weight gain may contribute to elevated IGF-1 levels and the development of cancer.

prostate cancer
weight gain

Source: ETV Bharat

The study findings highlight the potential benefits of averting weight gain during early adulthood as a means to mitigate the likelihood of aggressive and fatal prostate cancer. Dr. Marisa da Silva further emphasized the need to understand whether the weight gain itself or the sustained period of being overweight contributes more significantly to the observed association. Nevertheless, considering that weight gain is a precursor to becoming overweight, it becomes crucial to prevent substantial increases in weight among young men, ultimately playing a vital role in prostate cancer prevention.


In conclusion, the research underscores the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, particularly during the late teens and early twenties, to reduce the risk of developing aggressive and fatal prostate cancer. The study’s findings emphasize the need for preventive measures, as weight gain during young adulthood was associated with an increased likelihood of prostate cancer and its severity. While further investigation is necessary to understand the precise mechanisms involved, the study underscores the significance of weight management as a potential strategy for prostate cancer prevention. These insights contribute to the growing body of knowledge surrounding modifiable risk factors and emphasize the potential impact of lifestyle choices on long-term health outcomes.

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