A study by researchers at the Duke University Medical Center says that doctors could have more difficulty in detecting prostate cancer in obese men. This leads to a delayed diagnosis and consequently increases the mortality associated with the condition.
"Diagnosing prostate cancer is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. The bigger the haystack you have, the harder it is to find the needle, and in this case, we may be missing cancers in obese men," said lead investigator Dr. Stephen Freedland, an assistant professor in Duke's department of surgery-urology. He added that doctors should be aware of this when returning a negative diagnosis of prostate cancer. Dr Freedland and his team examined the medical records of 1,400 men who had undergone prostatectomy after being diagnosed with cancer. It was found that the average weight of an obese male's prostate was 40 grams as compared to the 20-30 grams in normal men. It is possible that a biopsy could also fail to detect cancer in obese men, the report concluded. The complete details appear in the February issue of the Journal of Urology.