Strom's study also identified that men who were obese at age 40 had twice the likelihood of biochemical failure after surgery than non-obese men. Strom and her colleagues considered obesity to conform to the conventional medical indexing called 'body mass index,' which is a patient's weight divided by the square of his height. For example, a 200 pound man who is five-foot nine-inches tall has a body mass index of 30 and is considered obese within the guidelines of this study.
The incorporation of body mass index at time of diagnosis with other measures of prostate cancer progression, such as PSA levels prior to surgery, age, stage of progression, Gleason Score, or tumor cell invasion of lymph nodes or seminal vesicles, enhances the predictive value of tools used to determine the risk each patient has for recurrence of prostate cancer.
"Urologists and oncologists can use this information when a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer to develop treatment strategies for that patient," Strom said. "By plugging in the clinical characteristics, they calculate each patient's risk of having more aggressive disease that will progress," she noted. "Body mass index makes that information more precise."