Black Men More At Risk For Prostate Cancer Have This In Common

overweight manBlacks have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than whites, and for obese black men, their risk can quadruple as their weight goes up, a new study indicates.

The findings from this large study should lead to a redoubling of efforts to encourage obesity prevention among black men, said study lead author Wendy Barrington, an assistant professor in the school of nursing at the University of Washington.

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“The main ‘take-home’ point for practicing physicians is to recognize that obesity has a different relationship to prostate cancer risk in African-American [men] compared to non-Hispanic white men,” said Barrington.

Why this might be so is “really just speculation at this point,” Barrington noted.

“We did account for many differences that could affect prostate cancer risk, such as access to care, and lifestyle factors, such as diet and physical activity,” she said.

“But it could also be that there’s actually a biological difference between African-American and non-Hispanic white men . . . It’s something for further research,” Barrington added.

However, a cancer specialist pointed out the study only established an association between race, obesity and cancer, not a direct cause-and-effect relationship.

The study results appear in the April 16 online issue of JAMA Oncology.

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About six in 10 prostate cancer cases occur in men older than 65, the American Cancer Society notes. For reasons that remain unclear, it has long been known that at any age, blacks face a greater overall risk for the disease than other men. The study team noted that blacks also face the highest risk for aggressive prostate cancer and death.

To explore a possible connection between obesity and prostate cancer, investigators analyzed data collected between 2001 and 2011 by the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial.

The trial included nearly 3,400 black men and almost 22,700 white men, all cancer-free and age 55 and up at the start.