Concurrent withincreasing prostate cancer incidence and declining prostate cancer mortality in the United States, the prevalence of obesity has been increasing steadily. Several studies have reported that obesity is associated with increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer and prostate cancer mortality, and it is thus likely that the increase in obesity has increased the burden of prostate cancer. In this study, we assess the potential effect of increasing obesity on prostate cancer incidence and mortality. We first estimate obesity-associated relative risks of low- and high-grade prostate cancer using data from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial. Then, using obesity prevalence data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and prostate cancer incidence data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program, we convert annual grade-specific prostate cancer incidence rates into incidence rates conditional on weight category. Next, we combine the conditional incidence rates withth e 1980 prevalence rates for each weight category to project annual grade-specific incidence under 1980 obesity levels. We use a simulation model based on observed survival and mortality data to translate the effects of obesity trends on prostate cancer incidence into effects on disease-specific mortality. The predicted increase in obesity prevalence since 1980 increased high-grade prostate cancer incidence by 15.5% and prostate cancer mortality by between 7.0% (under identical survival for obese and nonobese cases) and 23.0% (under different survival for obese and nonobese cases) in 2002. We conclude that increasing obesity prevalence since 1980 has partially obscured declines in prostate cancer mortality.
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