Eight More Cancers Linked To Obesity

Photo from Pixabay

Obesity is a worldwide problem, linked to multiple health problems such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. But there may be more: new cancers, and not just one kind.

An analysis of several studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine discovered new associations between obesity and increased risks for eight new cancers. These are in addition to the cancers previously linked to obesity, ABC News reports.

A team of researchers at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), under the World Health Organization, reviewed over 1,000 studies. They found data suggesting that excess body fat is related to occurrences of gastric, gallbladder, liver, pancreatic, thyroid, blood (multiple myeloma), ovarian, and brain (meningioma) cancers.

Dr. Richard Lee of the University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center warns,

I think the main takeaway point is that your health and specifically your body fatness is an important factor for many types of cancer.

He adds that people should understand that by keeping their weight down, they also decrease their chances of developing any form of cancer.

The researchers likewise tried to quantify how much risk obese people had to contract these cancers. They found that obese individuals were 1.8 times more likely to develop liver cancer, 4.8 times more for esophageal cancer, and 7.1 times more for uterine cancer. The study also confirmed that for some of these cancers, the heavier a patient is, the higher the risk.

Lee says one problem is that people don’t generally connect being overweight with cancer risks, unlike with smoking or drinking. Educating the public on this topic is important, he adds, and that patients ask him what the best way is to reduce their cancer risks. “I always tell them the first place to start is nutrition and exercise and physical fitness,” he says.

According to statistics from the World Health Organization, around 39% of adults over the age of 18 were overweight in 2014. About 13% of adults older than 18 were obese. In the United States alone, a whopping 67.3% of adults over 18 years were classified as overweight and 33.7% as obese.

On the bright side, the researchers found that obese people who lose weight seem to reduce their risk for cancer, as well.

Graham Colditz, a doctor and deputy director of the School of Public Health at Washington University School of Medicine, directed the IARC Working Group. He says lifestyle does play a significant role in decreasing a person’s overall cancer risk. Colditz says, “Public health efforts to combat cancer should focus on these things that people have some control over.”

Click to comment
To Top

Hi - We Would Love To Keep In Touch

If you liked this article then please consider joing our mailing list to receive the latest news, updates and opportunities from our team.

We don't want an impostor using your email address so please look for an email from us and click the link to confirm your email address.