You're 35 Percent More Likely to Die From Prostate Cancer If You Have This

An alarming new study links excess belly fat in men to a greater risk of prostate cancer death.

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It may be commonly called a "beer belly" and or a "spare tire," but the extra belly fat that many men accumulate around their midsection over time is no joking matter. In fact, according to a recent study from the U.K.'s Oxford University, that excess weight is directly linked to a higher rate of prostate cancer and your risk of dying from the disease.

The findings of the new research, conducted by a team at the university's Cancer Epidemiology Unit, were presented this week at the virtual European and International Conference on Obesity. What they found was that it wasn't just overall fat ("total adiposity") that led to a greater risk of prostate cancer deaths. It was the belly fat, specifically.

"We found a significant association between concentration of body fat around the belly and waist and the risk of prostate cancer death, but no clear association between total body fat and risk of prostate cancer death," said the study's lead author Aurora Pérez-Cornago, MD, a senior nutritional epidemiologist and Cancer Research U.K. fellow at Oxford.

For their study, the researchers sourced data from 200,000 men, all of whom were between 40 and 69 years of age and were recruited between the years of 2006 and 2010. For more than a decade, the researchers tracked their health data from medical administrative databases, paying close attention to biometric details such as body mass index (BMI), total body fat percentage, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratios. The researchers also took into account individual medical histories, as well as socioeconomic and lifestyle factors.

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Ultimately, they found that men in the top 25 percent for waist circumference were 35 percent more likely to die of prostate cancer than men in the bottom 25 percent. Additionally, those in the top 25 percent for waist-to-hip ratio were 34 percent more likely to die than men in the bottom 25 percent.

"A high BMI increases the risk of other diseases, including other types of cancer, so people should consider the implications of excess body fat wherever it is found in the body," Pérez-Cornago said in a statement release.

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The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be over 190,00o new cases of prostate cancer in the U.S. in 2020, which could potentially lead to more than 33,000 deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists prostate cancer as the third most common cause of cancer-specific deaths behind lung and breast cancer. And for more on prostate cancer, make sure you're aware of the 17 Prostate Cancer Warning Signs Hiding in Plain Sight.

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