PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A man’s height could be linked to his risk for developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer, according to new research.
For this research, scientists looked at height and body mass index to see how they might impact a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States, with more than 100,000 new cases diagnosed each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aging is a leading risk factor and obesity has been shown to increase the risk for high-grade prostate cancer.
A study published in BMC Medicine shows a man’s height is also linked to the severity of the risk.
“It turns out that taller men, and men who have bigger body mass indexes are not, so much, at risk of any prostate cancer, but are at higher risk of high-grade prostate cancer, and also are at higher risk of dying of prostate cancer,” Dr. Eric Klein of the Cleveland Clinic explained.
Researchers surveyed data from more than 100,000 men and found that for every 10 centimeters in height, the risk of developing an aggressive prostate cancer grew by 21 percent.
Among the explanations: More body mass means more blood, which could dilute the results of a PSA blood test, and perhaps lead to a biopsy being performed at a later time.
Doctors say while men can’t do anything about their height, it’s important to remember that they can do something about their weight to help control the risk.
“Maintaining a normal body mass index, exercising regularly, not over-eating calories, staying active, actually reduces your risk of getting the worst kind of prostate cancer,” Klein explained. “And if you do get it, makes it more likely that you will survive.”
Doctors say when found early, prostate cancer is very treatable. Men are advised to have an annual PSA blood test and screenings with their doctors.