Prostate Cancer and Your Weight:  Is There a Connection?

Prostate cancer has a wide spectrum of behavior in men.  Most prostate tumors are quite small and non-aggressive.  They rarely cause symptoms and often can be found in men incidentally – such as during a workup for another problem, or even on autopsies.  However, metastatic prostate cancer that spreads throughout the body can have a very aggressive course, infiltrating the bones and other organs, even leading to early death.

It’s well established that prostate cancer is more aggressive in men who are obese.  But why that is, has not been clear up until now.  In Nature Communications on January 12, French scientists published research which postulates a possible cellular pathway that could be responsible.

The normal prostate gland’s capsule is surrounded by a small amount of fatty tissue which produces a molecule called CCL7.  CCL7 acts as an attractant for tumor cells.  Because the amount of fatty tissue surrounding the prostate is greatly increased in obese patients, much larger amounts of CCL7 were found to be produced, increasing the ability of tumor cells to grow and spread beyond the prostate.

As obesity worsens among Hawaii’s men, especially young men, it’s critical to take action as soon as possible, to lower your risk.

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