Obese men face an increased risk of dying from prostate cancer and doctors should be especially thorough when checking these patients for the disease, a new study suggests.
Because the size of the prostate gland is larger in obese men, prostate cancer can be 20 percent to 25 percent harder for doctors to detect, according to Dr. Stephen Freedland, a surgeon at Duke University Medical Center in Durham and lead author of the study.
The findings are being published in the February issue of the Journal of Urology.
Because biopsies sample less of the total tissue in a larger prostate, it’s harder to spot hidden cancer, Freedland said.
The study surveyed medical records of some 1,400 men diagnosed with cancer whose prostates were surgically removed from 1998 to 2004 at Veteran’s Administration hospitals in California and Georgia and at the San Diego Naval Hospital.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer afflicting American men. In its most recent estimates, the American Cancer Society projected that 232,000 American men would be diagnosed with the disease and 30,000 would die from it in 2005.