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Risk of Prostate Cancer in Tall Men

November 13th, 2017

Risk of Prostate Cancer in Tall Men

Risk of Prostate Cancer in Tall Men

Did you know that males who are obese and tall are at much higher risk of developing more aggressive variants of prostate malignancy than their counterparts? Risk of Prostate Cancer in tall men is especially true according to an Oxford study conducted with over 100 thousand men.
According to latest estimates, prostate cancer affects 1 of 7 males in the US and 1 in 39 men are at risk of dying from prostate malignancy or related complications. Although, just like any other malignancy, there are a number of highly sophisticated diagnostic and treatment protocols available to address this cancer; but it is also important to understand what makes a man more vulnerable to develop this malignancy.

Does height or weight of an adult male determine his risk of developing prostate malignancy?

Prior research studies that were conducted on this subject suggested that obesity is a recognized risk factor that is very strongly linked with an increased risk of developing prostate cancer; however, no prior study had analyzed the role of obesity and height in the pathogenesis of more aggressive variants of prostate cancer.prostate malignant tumor growth
The new study conducted by Oxford University UK research team analyzed how these physical parameters define the staging (the metastatic potential of prostate tumor) and grading (degree of cellular abnormality of malignant cells) of prostate cancer.
Dr. Aurora Perez-Cornago and his team utilized the data that was collected as part of the European Prospective Investigational Study in which more than 141,896 males from several European countries participated (reducing the role of genetics and environmental factors). The study sample comprised of men from UK, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Italy, and Spain.
From this huge sample, the team of Oxford scientists was able to find 7,024 men; with 1,388 men with the histologically advanced disease and 726 men with a more aggressive tumor.
Once the data was analyzed; the research team concluded that:

  • The risk of developing cancer is not associated with height
  • Risk of developing high grade prostate cancer increases by a factor of 21% in tall males – with each 10cm increment in the height, the risk increases by 21%
  • Likewise, the risk of death in the setting of prostate cancer increases by 17% with every `10 cm increase in the height
  • With each 10cm addition in the waist circumference, the risk of death due to prostate cancer increases by 18%
  • Likewise, every 10cm addition in the waist circumference was found to be associated with a 13% risk of developing more aggressive disease

It is true that these findings are correlations are fascinating; so far there is no accurate scientific explanation of how height is related to a more aggressive prostate disease.  Although it may not be true for every male, the risk of prostate cancer in tall men is more probable and should be further investigated. Hopefully with more research, we will be able to find more associated factors that determine your risk of developing prostate disease.

  1. Perez-Cornago, A., Appleby, P. N., Pischon, T., Tsilidis, K. K., Tjønneland, A., Olsen, A., … & Steffen, A. (2017). Tall height and obesity are associated with an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer: results from the EPIC cohort study. BMC medicine, 15(1), 115.
  2. Allott, E. H., Masko, E. M., & Freedland, S. J. (2013). Obesity and prostate cancer: weighing the evidence. European urology, 63(5), 800-809.
  3. Bhaskaran, K., Douglas, I., Forbes, H., dos-Santos-Silva, I., Leon, D. A., & Smeeth, L. (2014). Body-mass index and risk of 22 specific cancers: a population-based cohort study of 5· 24 million UK adults. The Lancet, 384(9945), 755-765.

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