Dr. Sara Strom found obesity/prostate cancer tied to one another
This Washington Post story shares the results of a remarkable new study that found men who are overweight or obese are more likely to have a recurrence of prostate cancer even after undergoing risky and painful radiation treatments.
Lead researcher Dr. Sara S. Strom, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, theorized that there was a connection between carrying around excessive body fat and the progression of prostate cancer even after radiation treatment and sought to prove it with her study.
Dr. Strom and her researchers searched through the medical records of 873 prostate cancer patients treated at the cancer center she works during the 14-year time period between 1988-2001. She discovered that nearly one in five (18 percent) of them were considered "mildly obese" and another 5 percent were moderately to severely obese based on their body mass index (BMI).
Every single one of the 873 men Dr. Strom looked at for her study had already undergone external-beam radiotherapy to treat their prostate cancer and their health was being observed using digital rectal exams as well as prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood tests which checks for the blood protein that indicates prostate cancer exists.
According to her study, Dr. Strom said the moderate to severely obese men experience a 70 percent chance of developing another cancerous tumor in the prostate than their skinnier counterparts in the study.
This was due to the revelation made in a previous study conducted by Dr. Strom that found men who carry around extra weight tend to experience an increase in their PSA levels following radiation treatment compared with the normal weight men. In fact, she added that moderate to severely obese men experienced nearly double the risk of developing elevated PSA levels.
"Together, these studies confirm that a man's level of obesity can be a significant factor in how well he fares after standard treatments for prostate cancer," Dr. Strom concluded.
This study is set to be published in the August 1, 2006 issue of the scientific journal Cancer.
I recently had a PSA blood test done after I was having trouble urinating. My doctor sent me to a urologist who put me on antibiotics for several weeks before the issue cleared up. But my doctor was concerned I might have an even more serious issue and had me do the simple blood test to check my PSA level.
When the nurse got the results back a few days later, she called me on my cell phone and said to me, "Mr. Moore, what are you doing?" That was a somewhat vague question to ask me out of the blue, so I answered, "I'm sitting here talking with someone who's got some good news to tell me." She laughed and then reported, "We've never seen someone with a PSA level of 0.8 before and we wanted to know what you are doing?"
Dumb me was even clueless to know what that meant, so I asked, "Is that good?" Again, she laughed at my response and said anything below 4.0 is VERY good. Oh! WOW! That is really good then! WOO HOO! I was thrilled and I'm sure it's due in no small part to the 180 pounds I lost on the low-carb lifestyle in 2004. I don't even want to think about what my PSA level was when I weighed 410 pounds. Those days are long gone now!
I wonder if my low-carb eating habits and regular exercise have anything to do with my PSA being where it is. Any insights from those who know more about this stuff would be greatly appreciated.
Dr. Strom admits the link between extra weight and radiation treatment not being as effective for overweight and obese men is still unclear, but she hypothesizes that excessive fat tissue secretes hormones which could be the culprit in aiding the cancer to redevelop again. But she does note that new technology now exists with the radiation treatments which could make this an infrequent occurence now and in the future.
Dr. Len Litchfield, the deputy chief medical officer with the American Cancer Society, said this study by Dr. Strom "suggests people who are overweight and obese do not do as well" with cancer treatments because of their weight.
What better reason to start livin' la vida low-carb than being able to give yourself a fighting chance if you ever have to face the "c" word in the future? Allow this to motivate you to begin losing weight and commit yourself fully to do it for your current and future health. Your life may depend on you getting your weight under control once and for all. Don't keep waiting for the tomorrow that never comes. Begin RIGHT NOW to do it and never look back again. I'm always here to encourage you along the way to make it happen for yourself. E-mail me anytime.
You can e-mail Dr. Sara Strom about her study at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6-28-06 UPDATE: Dr. Sara Strom sent me an insightful e-mail today after reading my blog post about her research.
Thank you for the work you are doing. It takes a lot of work and energy to change human behavior.
Sara S. Strom, PhD
Department of Epidemiology
You are absolutely correct, Dr. Strom. It does take a lot of effort to bring about change. But, by golly, I for one will keep at it until we can bring about permanent and lasting changes in the mindset of the masses. KEEP UP YOUR GREAT RESEARCH!