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Obese Men With Benign Prostate Biopsies May Still Face Cancer Risk

04/24/2013 05:01 pm ET
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Men who are obese and have a benign prostate biopsy may still be at risk for prostate cancer, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, shows that men who are obese are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer even if they'd received a benign prostate biopsy, particularly in the few years right after the biopsy.

"We need some guidance on when or for whom a full follow-up is required," study researcher Andrew Rundle, Dr.PH., an associate professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, said in a statement. "Obesity should be considered a factor for more intensive follow-up after a benign prostate biopsy."

Researchers examined prostate cancer incidence and obesity among 6,692 men who were part of the Henry Ford Health System. All of the men had undergone biopsy or transurethral resection of the prostate to find cancer, and all of the men had received benign results. Researchers selected 494 of these men, as well as 494 controls, specifically for this study.

They found that 11 percent of the "benign" prostate specimens actually had precancerous abnormalities, and the risk of having these abnormalities was higher if the men were obese during the time of the biopsy.

Then, researchers took into account risk factors -- such as family history, PSA levels, and the like -- and found that being obese at the time of biopsy was linked with a 57 percent higher prostate cancer incidence during a follow-up a short time later, compared with not being obese. However, researchers noted that this higher incidence only applied to tumors found pretty soon after the initial biopsy.

Past research has also shown links between excess weight and the recurrence of prostate cancer. A study presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research last year showed that the more excess body weight a man has, the greater his odds of having his prostate cancer come back, even after treatment, HuffPost's Catherine Pearson reported.

According to the National Cancer Institute, obesity is linked with other cancers, too, including breast, esophageal, endometrial, colon, rectal, kidney, thyroid and pancreatic cancers.

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