Men with beer bellies are a third more likely to die from prostate cancer than those with slimmer waistlines, a study by Oxford University suggests.

A waistline of more than 40 inches was found to carry far higher risks than one of less than 35 inches.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, with one in six getting it during their lifetimes, and around 12,000 deaths a year. 

Researchers tracked 218,225 men, aged between 40 and 69, for more than a decade. None had suffered from any type of cancer when the study began. 

By the end of the research, 571 men had died from prostate cancer, or around two per cent of all those in the study. 

Researchers found that those men in the top 25 per cent for waist circumference were 35 per cent more likely to die of prostate cancer than men in the bottom 25 per cent.

The group with the biggest waistline had measurements of at least 40 inches (103 cm) while those in the slimmest group were no more than 35 inches (90 centimetres).

Researchers tracked a range of weight measurements.

While no clear link was found between prostate cancer mortality and body mass index, or total fat percentage, levels of belly fat, concentrated close to key organs, appeared to have a significant impact.

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