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Researchers estimate 1,300 deaths from the illness each year could be avoided if men’s average body mass indexes were five points lower.

Oxford University carried out the biggest ever review for the disease, analysing 2.5 million men. They found that beer bellies increase the risk of developing the deadliest form of prostate cancer.

Study lead Dr Aurora Perez- Cornago said: “Knowing more about factors that increase the risk of prostate cancer is the key to preventing it.”

“Age and family history are known risk factors but they are not modifiable, and so it is important to discover risk factors that are possible to change.”

“We found that men with higher total and central adiposity have a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer than men with a healthy weight.”Visceral fat was measured at the start of the study, does ramipril contain a diuretic which followed participants over many years.”

Some 20,000 of the men involved died from prostate cancer.

An extra four inches around the waist increases a man’s risk of dying by seven percent, the research suggested.

Every five-point increase in BMI was found to increase the chance of dying from prostate cancer by 10 percent.

As well as belly fat, carrying too much weight overall was also linked to an increased risk of the disease.

Karis Betts, from Cancer Research UK, which funded the study, said: “By building on these findings scientists can better understand who is at an increased risk of getting and dying from the disease.”

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with around 52,000 cases a year in the UK and 12,000 deaths.

The review was published in the journal BMC Medicine.

The findings will be presented at the European Congress on Obesity, being held in Maastricht, Netherlands, this week.

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