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Obesity Ups Cancer Risk in Black Men

According to researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington, African-American men have the highest rates of prostate cancer (both development and mortality) in the United States. Those same researchers have determined that obesity among this population makes the problem much worse.

The original purpose of the study, published in JAMA Oncology (2015; doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.0513),
was to determine differences in prostate cancer risk between African-American men and non-Hispanic white men.
A second goal was to observe any associations between obesity and the cancer’s occurrence.

To do this, the researchers looked
at the health records of 3,398 African-American and 22,673 non-Hispanic white men over a 10-year period. No significant link emerged between BMI and prostate cancer risk in the latter group. The African-American men didn’t fare so
well. Their risk increased from 28% for those with a BMI of less than 25 to 103% for those with a BMI of at least 35%.

The authors drew the following conclusions: “Obesity is more strongly associated with increased prostate cancer risk among African American [men] than non-Hispanic white men, and reducing obesity among African American men could reduce the racial disparity in cancer incidence. Additional research
is needed to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the differential effects of obesity in African American and non-Hispanic white men.”

These results are disheartening; however, individuals at risk for developing prostate cancer may have a resource in Twice as Many, an organization dedicated to better understanding why the disease is so much more prevalent in the African-American community. The organization is also committed to raising awareness and promoting prostate cancer research as a career.

To learn more about Twice as Many, visit www.twiceasmany.org.

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