Study Finds Obesity Increases Cancer Risk
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research 1/3 of the most common cancers could be prevented through diet, physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight. By not smoking another 1/3 can be eliminated.
Two new studies support the weight/cancer connection. The first has to do with breast cancer reoccurrence. Previous studies have found there is a relationship between obesity and the development of breast cancer, as well as the reoccurrence of breast cancer in women who have already been diagnosed. This study, published in the journal Cancer, was based on research sponsored by the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Compared to women of normal weight, obese women were 40% more likely to have a breast cancer reoccurrence. The connection was especially strong for women with estrogen receptor-positive cancer, which accounts for most cases of breast cancer. View this video discussing the study linking obesity with increases risk of breast cancer.
The other study looked at the relationship between obesity and the development of pro inflammatory chemicals. Long term exposure to these chemicals has been associated with a number or chronic diseases including heart disease and some forms of cancer. Excess weight, especially in the belly (visceral fat) is known to produce these pro-inflammatory chemicals. The study published in the May issue of Cancer Research, found that overweight, post-menopausal women who lose just 5% of their body weight significantly reduced the levels of inflammatory chemicals thought to be associated with the increase risk. While a weight loss of 5% (10lbs for someone 200lbs) may not seem very impressive, from a cancer risk perspective it certainly is. Other studies have found a similar relationship between a 5% weight loss and the reduced risk if heart disease and diabetes.
While weight management certainly plays a role in reducing the risk of cancer, there are several other factors as well. Check out this infographic from the American Institute for Cancer Research on cancer prevention: