Beer belly linked to increased risk of prostate cancer
The chances of developing aggressive prostate cancer increase with every inch added to a man's waistline, research finds.
Scientists at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom examined more than 140,000 men from eight different countries over a period of eight years. The men had a mean age of 52.
The major study found that weight on the waist - such as a typical beer belly - has a specific impact, sharply increasing the risk of the most common form of cancer in men.
Specifically, researchers reported that every four inches (10 cm) added to waist circumference can increase a man's chances of developing potentially fatal prostate cancer by 18 per cent. The risk of dying from the disease also increases in men with a high body mass index, the report said.
According to the National Health Service (NHS), prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the U.K., with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year. The disease can develop slowly and symptoms often only becoming apparent when the prostate is large enough to affect the urethra.
The research was funded by Cancer Research UK, with a spokesperson for the organisation saying the findings could give doctors another "warning sign" to carry out checks for the disease.
"The findings from this large prospective study show that the association between body size and prostate cancer is complex and varies by disease aggressiveness," the spokesperson said, according to the Press Association.
"Men who have greater adiposity have an elevated risk of high grade prostate cancer and prostate cancer death. Men should try to maintain a healthy weight."
While a spokesperson for Prostate Cancer UK said: "This research adds to a growing body of evidence that shows that weight and waist size could be another crucial risk factor for men to be aware of when it comes to protecting themselves against prostate cancer."
At the conclusion of the study, 7,000 incidents of prostate cancer were identified with 934 proving fatal.