Obesity Linked to Cancer

by Apr 4, 20170 comments

A new research study published in the British Medical Journal has found strong evidence linking obesity and the development of 11 types of cancer. The study found a connection between obesity and pancreatic, esophageal adenocarcinoma, colon, biliary tract system, gastric cardia, rectum, multiple myeloma, endometrium, breast, ovary and kidney cancers.

Cancer is a Leading Cause of Death Worldwide and Obesity is a Factor

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer was the culprit 8.8 million deaths in 2015. The organization notes that one in six deaths globally are due to cancer, with the five most common cancers being lung, liver, colorectal, stomach and breast.

The researchers studied the effects of excess body weight and its association with cancer by conducting an audit of numerous existing studies. There was “strong evidence” found to validate the claim that obesity plays a part in developing cancer.

According to an article published by the British Medical Journal, “The new study looked at 95 reports linking excess body fat (as measured on a continuous scale) to the risk of developing or dying from cancer. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) at over 30.

In particular, researchers of the study reviewed the data on the ratio between height and weight, as well as body mass index (BMI). The review concluded that there was an association between an increased BMI to a higher risk of developing cancers of the biliary tract, kidney, pancreas, bone marrow and esophagus.

Obese Women are More Prone to Hormone-Related Cancers

The study also found the strongest link between body fat and cancers affecting the digestive tract and hormone-related cancers in women.

Lead author of the study, Maria Kyrgiou, PhD, MSc, from the Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, United Kingdom stated:

“Other associations could be genuine as well, but there is uncertainty about them.”

The author noted that more research is necessary to completely understand the connection between cancer and obesity.

Bearing this in mind, the first step you can take for cancer prevention is to maintain a healthy body weight. Cut down on “bad” carbs, ie. white sugar, white bread, and increase the amount of fruits (good carbs), vegetables and increase the amount of physical activity you perform each day. Active Health offers one-on-one counseling to help you find a plan that works for you. Call us today to schedule an appointment, (847) 739-3120.


Medscape: ‘Strong Evidence’: Obesity Tied to 11 Cancers http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/876410

The BMJ: Adiposity and Cancer at Major Anatomical Sites: Umbrella Review of the Literature http://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.j477

World Health Organization: Cancer http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/