High blood pressure and obesity increase prostate cancer mortality

Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death, after lung cancer. Just in the UK alone, it is estimated that around 36,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and it is responsible for a quarter of all newly diagnosed cases of cancer in men. Of this total of 36,000, just under a third will tragically die; usually because it has not been identified and treated early enough.

Unfortunately, prostate cancer will usually cause no symptoms until the cancer has become big enough to place pressure on the urethra. The symptoms are also incredibly similar to benign prostatic hyperplasia, and thus if you have such symptoms, it may not automatically mean you have prostate cancer. They include: having to urinate more frequently, problems actually beginning to urinate, a feeling that your bladder has not been fully emptied and a weak flow of urine.

The older you get, the chances increase of you developing prostate cancer, with it particularly being prevalent in people over the age of 70. However, a new study has come to light that sheds more light on the ‘high-risk’ groups, and what factors contribute to the deadly cancer.

Dr Christel Haggstrom, from Umea University, Sweden, and her team assessed nearly 300,000 males from Austria, Norway and Sweden over a duration of twelve years. Their aim was to analyse prostate cancer prevalence, how many deaths occurred, and what factors were contributing to prostate cancer incidence. The study was known as ‘The Metabolic Syndrome and Cancer (MeCan) project’.

Through the follow-up period of twelve years, a total of 6,673 men developed prostate cancer and of these, 961 unfortunately died from the disease. It was discovered that those who had among the highest BMI readings, had a 36% chance of dying from prostate cancer. For those with the highest blood pressure readings, the mortality rate was calculated as 62%.

Dr Haggstrom and colleagues looked at a wide range of risk factors, including high body mass index (BMI), high blood pressure, and high levels of sugar and fats in the blood, This is collectively known as ‘metabolic syndrome’. She said: “When we looked to see if the metabolic factors are related to an increased risk of getting or dying from prostate cancer we found a relationship with death from the disease and high blood pressure. There was also a link to high BMI but blood pressure had the strongest association to increased risk. The results for BMI are in line with previous findings in large studies. I can’t speculate on the reasons for the association between having high blood pressure and dying from prostate cancer. More research is needed to find out why this is the case but the results add further evidence to the hypothesis that high levels of metabolic factors separately or combined are related to an increased risk of dying from the disease.”

Pär Stattin, MD, PhD, from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, led the study. He commented on its findings, saying: “These observations suggest that cardiovascular risk factors such as overweight and hypertension are involved in stimulating the progression of prostate cancer.”

If you are suffering with any symptoms mentioned earlier, you should visit your own GP as soon as possible for a check-up and do not delay in doing this. The earlier prostate cancer is spotted – the better chance of treatment being effective and a full recovery can be made. Alternatively, there is a chance you could be one of the 2.4 million men in the UK suffering from the previously mentioned condition, benign prostatic hyperplasia. Also known as an enlarged prostate gland, it can be treated through the use of effective medication such as Flomax Relief, which eases the symptoms associated with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) of a BPH. Flomax works by relaxing muscles in the prostate gland, relaxing the muscles in the urethra (the tube from the bladder to the outside of the body).  This lets urine pass more freely through the urethra, making it easier to urinate. It is available today from the Medical Specialists Pharmacy chemist shop, costing just £8.75 for 14 capsules, or £15.95 for 28.

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