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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Being Big, Fat and Black Almost Always Leads to Prostate Cancer

Fat, African American

A study at the University of Washington showed that weight is a much bigger factor among black men than among white men with prostate cancer. Increases in obesity will increase the risk of prostate cancer among both black and white men. However, the study showed that the risk is much greater for black men. Why?

Risk for obese black men

As lead author of the study, Wendy Barrington, explained, "obesity has a different relationship to prostate cancer risk in African-American men compared to non-Hispanic white men.” The study found a 58 percent increased risk for prostate cancer among blacks compared with whites. The higher the Body Mass Index (BMI), which is the amount of body fat compared to height and weight, the higher the risk for prostate cancer.

Why is the risk greater for black men?

But for reasons still being investigated, the risk grows more rapidly among black men. For example, black men who are severely obese increase their risk of slow-growing prostate cancer by 122 percent, and the risk of fast-moving cancer by 81 percent. Among white men, obesity increased their risk for aggressive cancer by 33 percent; there was no increase in risk for slow-growing cancer.

More research is ongoing to determine why there is such a disparity in risk between black men and white men with prostate cancer. But one factor is for certain, weight should be a concern among all men, and especially blacks who face the highest risk for aggressive prostate cancer and death.

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