According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), prostate cancer took the lives of more than 27,000 men last year, and an estimated 220,000 new cases were identified. There is concern, however, that prostate cancer in obese men may go undetected because of inadequate screening processes.
The NIH states that “prostate cancer can be detected before symptoms even appear by screening the blood for unusually high concentrations of prostate-specific antigen (PSA).” But results from a recent study published in the November 21, 2007, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (2007; 298 , 2275–80) raise questions as to the validity of this method.
The retrospective study involved almost 14,000 men who underwent prostate cancer surgery from 1988 to 2006. The authors analyzed the subjects’ medical records and found that obese men had serum PSA concentrations 11%–21% lower than normal-weight men. The authors theorized that higher blood volume, associated with higher body mass index (BMI), might explain the result, since PSA concentrations would be diluted.The researchers conceded that subsequent testing was necessary to concretely assert that obese men are at greater risk for having undetected prostate cancer; however it’s never too early to educate male clients and participants of the potential dangers of carrying extra weight.