Weight linked to prostate cancer death

    Research points to need for lifestyle and prevention strategies, says
    Canadian Cancer Society

    MONTREAL, Oct. 5 /CNW/ - New research, funded in part by the Canadian
Cancer Society, shows that men suffering from prostate cancer are up to
2 1/2 times more at risk of dying from the disease if they are overweight or
obese. The men who participated in the study had been weighed prior to being
diagnosed with prostate cancer.
    Dr. Michael Pollak, senior author of the study, published online in The
Lancet Oncology, says the research team was surprised by these strong
findings. "Previous studies have suggested a relationship between prostate
cancer progression and being overweight," he says. "This study strongly
confirms those earlier findings and in fact points to a leading culprit which
appears to be an excess secretion of insulin in these patients." Excess
production of insulin - or hyperinsulinemia - is one of the many metabolic
changes that occur in overweight and obese people.
    Heather Chappell, Senior Manager of Cancer Control Policy with the
Canadian Cancer Society says: "This study emphasizes the value of reaching out
to the Canadian public about the importance of maintaining a healthy body
weight. We need to work to identify barriers that keep Canadians from eating
as well as possible, and being as physically active as possible. It appears
that having a healthy body weight can help you survive a prostate cancer
diagnosis in the future."
    "Being healthy is not simply up to the individual," she says. "In
addition, we need healthy public policies that will help Canadians to make
easy, affordable and healthy choices."
    "Men living in affluent societies are facing two epidemics - obesity and
prostate cancer," says Dr. Pollak of McGill University. "This research
provides further impetus for men to avoid becoming overweight by improved
physical activity and diet."
    "Up until now, oncologists and researchers felt that the only hormones
relevant to prostate cancer were the male hormones known as androgens. These
results suggest that the insulin family may also be involved in the disease,"
he says.
    The study looked at 2,546 men diagnosed with prostate cancer during a
long-term follow-up sub-study - part of the Physicians Health Study involving
more than 22,000 doctors.
    This research was co-funded by the Canadian Cancer Society and the U.S.
National Institutes of Health.

    The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of
volunteers whose mission is to eradicate cancer and to enhance the quality of
life of people living with cancer. It is the largest national charitable
funder of cancer research in Canada. Last year, the Society funded close to
$49.5 million in leading-edge research projects across the country. When you
want to know more about cancer, visit our website at www.cancer.ca or call our
toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For further information:

For further information: Christine Harminc, Communications Officer,
Canadian Cancer Society, (416) 934-5650, charminc@cancer.ca

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