Staying thin could help prevent cancer

Harold Mandel's picture
Cancer

There has been a surge in the rates of obesity worldwide. There are serious negative health consequences associated with obesity such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Researchers have found that there is also an increase in the risk for many types of cancer with obesity.

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There may be an increase in the risk for cancer with weight gain. Researchers say there could be an increase of as much as 50 percent in the risk of obesity associated cancers in men with a substantial gain in weight. In women this association may lead to an increase in cancer risk of about 20 percent.

Researchers studied about 300,000 people in America. There were approximately 177,500 men and 111,500 women in the study. Changes in BMI between 18 years old and 65 years old were observed. Some of the people gained just a little weight while others became morbidly obese between these ages. These people were than checked on for an average of 15 years to determine who developed obesity associated cancers.

Risk for obesity associated cancer soared to 53 percent in men who went from being overweight to being morbidly obese

It was determined that in men who went from a BMI of about 22 to 27 there was a 50 per cent increase in the risk of getting obesity associated cancer in comparison to men who remained within a healthy weight range. The risk for obesity associated cancer soared to 53 percent in men who went from being overweight to being morbidly obese.

In women there was a 17 percent increased risk of developing obesity associated cancer with an increase in BMI from 23 to about 32 in comparison to women who began with a healthy weight and remained in that range. Out of the 300,000 people in the study about 9,400 women and 5,500 men were diagnosed with obesity associated cancer after 65 years old.

Being overweight or obese is the second largest preventable cause of cancer after smoking in the UK

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In the United Kingdom being overweight or obese of the second largest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. There are about 18,100 new cases of cancer yearly in the United Kingdom associated with being overweight and obese. This has been associated with many types of cancer including pancreatic, breast, ovarian, and bowel.

Dr Hannah Lennon, who was the lead author and who is a researcher at The University of Manchester, says this study shows us how significant it is to view weight gain over the lifetime of a person to get a clearer picture of the risk of cancer throughout life, instead of simply assessing the BMI of someone at one point. Dr Lennon thinks this study could be helpful in public health. It could be used to assist in identifying people who may benefit the most from attempting to control their weight prior to any health problems arising, such as a diagnosis of cancer.

Maintaining a healthy weight can help decrease your risk for cancer

Dr Karen Kennedy, the Director of the National Cancer Research Institute, says this study offers us a more in depth understanding about how people can decrease their risk of cancer. Although maintaining a healthy weight is not a guarantee against getting cancer it can help decrease your risk for cancer and also has many other benefits. Eating nutritious low fat meals and getting adequate exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight.

The National Cancer Institute reports obesity is associated with an increased risk for many types of cancer including:

*Esophagus
*Kidney
*Pancreas
*Thyroid
*Colon and rectum
*Breast (after menopause)
*Endometrium (lining of the uterus)
*Gallbladder

In one study it was estimated that in 2007 there were about 34,000 new cases of cancer in men in the United States and 50,500 in women which were because of obesity. It has been projected that if the present trends in obesity continue there will be approximately 500,000 new cases of cancer in the United States by the year 2030. It's therefore clearly a good idea to strive to be thin to help decrease your risk for cancer.

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