May obesity lead to cancer?
Obesity and Cancer
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 61 percent of all Americans are overweight or obese. Most Americans, by now, are aware of the better known health risks associated with weight gain, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The results of a recent survey by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) show that only about one in four individuals knew that obesity was also a cancer risk.
According to the AICR, obesity increases the likelihood of developing the following cancers by 25 to 33 percent:
* Breast (post-menopausal)
"One of the hypotheses is that the presence of excess fat cells could affect the levels of hormones in your body," Renehan said. "At a cellular level, that may favor the development of tumors in humans."
Because many studies have found that fatter people are more likely to get cancer, experts often recommend losing weight to reduce cancer risk.
"The simple message is that, if you manage to keep a healthy body weight, you will have a lower risk of developing cancer,"
Obesity is on its way to being deadlier than smoking as a cause of cancer, a leading researcher said.
Being obese is currently associated with about 14 percent of cancer deaths in men and 20 percent in women, compared with about 30 percent each for smoking, Dr. Walter C. Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health, told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
"As smoking goes down and obesity goes up it won't be long before obesity is the No. 1 cancer killer," Willett said at a symposium on cancer prevention.
Added Dr. Douglas R. Lowy of the National Cancer Institute: "Cancer prevention begins at home. ... Not all of us always act in our own best interest."
Willett said research is producing increasing evidence associating obesity with a variety of cancers, including breast, colorectal, liver, pancreas and gallbladder. ...more