Being a tall man is risky . . . when it comes to prostate cancer

Amos Gonzales
July 14, 2017

The research team found that while being tall did not increase the overall risk of getting prostate cancer, it did heighten the risk of high grade tumors that spread more quickly.

Men who are tall have an increased risk of developing and dying from aggressive prostate cancer, a new study has found.

Dr Matthew Hobbs, deputy director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: 'It is certainly interesting that, according to this research, certain physical characteristics appear to increase a man's likelihood of developing aggressive prostate cancer, as it might provide pointers to help uncover certain genetic markers and early developmental processes which hold significance in terms of causing the disease to develop.

However they did stress that height was not associated with overall prostate cancer risk.

It was also found that men with higher body mass index and waist conference were at greater risk of being diagnosed than those with a lower body mass index. Obese men also tend to have larger prostates making it harder to find the cancer. This is a prospective European cohort of 141,896 men, which includes 7,024 incident prostate cancers, 726 high-grade and 1,388 advanced stage prostate cancers, and 934 prostate cancer deaths.

For every height increase of this amount, the risk of aggressive prostate cancer rose more than a fifth, by 21 per cent.

They say obese men may be less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, because they have lower concentrations of prostate-specific antigens, are less likely to undergo a biopsy and tend to have larger prostates, making detection more hard.

"It can be also that tall men have more cells in general, and larger prostate volumes, and this has been related with higher risk of prostate cancer".

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The analysis drew from data on 141,896 men, almost all of whom were white, in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.

On the other hand, it may simply be more hard to catch prostate cancer early in men who are obese, Stevens said.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the world, but not much is known about it, according to the study.

"A potential harm of observation is that prostate cancer may spread if left untreated and could result in prostate cancer death". Most previous research in this area has grouped the stage and grade of tumour together in combined categories of aggressive or non-aggressive cancer. "They may also inform strategies for prevention, but we need to do further work to understand why the differences in risk exist", she added.

Obesity has always been linked to triggering a host of ailments including lifestyle and metabolic diseases like diabetes and cancer. It was associated with an 18% higher risk of prostate cancer death and 13% higher risk of high grade can cancer with every 10 centimetres of additional waist circumference.

Researchers suspect the increased risk from height is probably related to early childhood nutrition that promoted fast growth, Stevens and Perez-Cornago said.

"In fact if every man in the United Kingdom maintained a healthy weight, about one in 10 cases could be prevented each year".

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