Young men have been advised that watching their weight in their 20s could mean they are at a lower risk of developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer. 

Most people are aware of the health implications of being overweight or obese, including a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. 

However, a recent study has shown males who put on weight between 17 and 29 years old increase their risk of dying from prostate cancer by nearly a third.

Scientists from Sweden looked at data from 258,477 men between 1963 and 2019. They were weighed three times from the ages of 17 and 60, the Daily Mail reported.

Of this figure, 23,348 developed prostate cancer, and 4,790 died from the condition. 

The study found weight gain was greatest at an earlier age, with men typically putting on 1.6lb a year between 17 and 29 years old, then 0.75lb a year from 30 to 44, and 0.5lb every 12 months between 45 and 60. 

Participants who gained 2.2lb a year in the youngest age group increased their chance of developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer by 17 per cent, and dying from it by 27 per cent. 

Putting on weight raises the concentration of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which is thought to encourage the cancer to develop.

Indeed, Dr Marisa da Silva from Lund University in Sweden said: “A steep increase in weight may fuel this elevation and the development of the cancer.”

She added it remains unknown whether it is the fact the men gained weight rapidly or that they were heavier that increased their risk of prostate cancer. 

“Nevertheless, one must gain weight to become heavier, so preventing a steep increase in weight in young men is imperative for the prevention of prostate cancer,” Dr da Silva added.

According to Prostate Cancer UK, one in eight men will get the disease, with those over the age of 50, are Black, or have a genetic history of the condition being at greater risk. 

The symptoms include difficulty urinating or emptying the bladder; a weak flow when urinating; dribbling urine; needing to wee more frequently; or having a sudden need to urinate. 

Some men might also experience back, hip or pelvis pain, blood in their urine or semen, unexplained weight loss, or difficulties getting or keeping an erection. 

Though many patients will be diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer, some will be given the news that it has spread to other parts of the body. Once it is in the bones and lymph nodes, it is not possible to treat, which is why it is important to catch as early as possible. 

Treatments, such as hormone therapy, chemotherapy and clinical trials, can manage the symptoms, while regular prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests help monitor the cancer. 

These, along with regular blood tests, provide information on how well the treatment is working, and whether the cancer is spreading to other parts of the body. 

PSA tests can be taken at a Weybridge pharmacy, helping patients to stay on top of their illness, and receive timely updates on the state of their cancer.