Watch your waistline if you want to lower the risk of prostate cancer

Mr Sanjai Addla, consultant uro-oncologist. Lead cancer clinician, for BTHFT (Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)

WE’RE all conscious that keeping fit and healthy should serve us well for the future.

Looking after ourselves is imperative to ensure we maintain a healthy lifestyle as we advance in years, and keeping our waistlines in check is particularly important for men - as a new study has found.

Funded by Cancer Research, the study found the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer can be worsened by being an unhealthy weight and having a large waistline.

Researchers found that every four inches (10cm) increase in waist circumference can increase a man’s chances of developing fatal prostate cancer by 18 per cent.

Similarly, the risk of being killed by a fatal strand of the disease increases if the man has a high body mass index (BMI), the report says.

The study, by scientists at the University of Oxford, examined more than 140,000 men with a mean age of 52 years, across eight countries.

After 14 years, some 7,000 incidents of prostate cancer were identified, of which 934 were fatal.

It also found that high-grade prostate cancer, an aggressive form of the disease, was exacerbated by obesity.

Mr Sanjai Addla, consultant uro-oncologist. Lead cancer clinician, for BTHFT (Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) believes the study will help to encourage patients to lead healthier lifestyles.

He explains prostate cancer is generally a slow growing cancer. With some patients it isn’t treated but monitored.

Launched in 2012 at Bradford Royal Infirmary, the £2m da Vinci robot, part funded by Sovereign Healthcare, is proving a valuable and vital tool in treating prostate cancer patients.

The robot acts as an extension of a surgeon’s hands and fingers in miniature. Since its installation it has performed 600 operations including treating bladder and kidney cancers.

Mr Addla says the link between obesity and cancer is already well established. “For overall cancers, if the whole population lost 1kg in weight it would decrease the whole cancer risk by 100,000.”

He says the study is also very relevant to Bradford. Through the Born in Bradford research project, a long term study cohort of 13,500 children born at Bradford Royal Infirmary between March 2007 and December 2010, whose health is tracked from pregnancy through to childhood and into adult life to research the influences which shape our lives, they know an Asian child has a higher fat content at birth than a Caucasian child and that continues through their lives.

He says the study is extremely important in educating, particularly the second generation, that they need to look after their health.

Mr Addla says he hopes it will also encourage and empower patients to think about their health and achieve a healthy lifestyle.

“I think it (the study) is very very good and the reason why it is good is it will increase the information we can provide to the patient.

“If there is a more identifiable target they can aim towards it because it is much more achievable.

“For me it is informing the patient, and in patient counselling it is a landmark paper because it helps me to quantify things much better.”