Young Men with Appendicitis Have A Nine Fold Increased Risk for Developing Lethal Prostate Cancer

Researchers have recently found that men under the age of 20 years who have an appendicitis are up to nine times more likely to develop prostate cancer later in life.  The study that came to this conclusion was performed by scientists at Orebro University in Sweden.  It is one of the first to highlight this increase in the risk for the development of prostate cancer.   

The Swedish team studied more than 240,000 18-year-olds who signed up for military service over several decades.  They evaluated records of how many men had been ill with appendicitis or had their appendix removed - before joining the military.

The volunteers were then tracked for nearly 40 years to see how many went on to develop prostate cancer later in life.

The results, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, revealed just under 1,700 of the subject men developed prostate cancer when they got older.

The scientists found those who had appendicitis as youngsters were 70 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer overall.   They also found that when they evaluated how many were diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer that had spread to other parts of the body, they found appendicitis sufferers were four times more at risk.  Additionally, among those that died from prostate cancer, the risk was almost nine times greater.

It is not clearwhy an inflamed appendix might be linked with cancer years later.  One of the working theories is that being ill with appendicitis as a child leads to years of low-level inflammation in the body that provides the right environment for cancer cells to grow.

Joel T. Nowak, MA, MSW wrote this Post.  Joel is the CEO/Executive Director of Cancer ABCs.  He is a Cancer Thriver diagnosed with five primary cancers - Thyroid, Metastatic Prostate, Renal, Melanoma, and the rare cancer Appendiceal cancer.