Obesity Linked To 13 Types Of Cancer

There is already strong evidence to link obesity with five types of cancer. A recent study conducted by International Agency for Research on Cancer reviewed more than 1,000 reports, and in doing so has found strong evidence in eight further cancer types that are caused by obesity. These include gastric, liver, gallbladder, pancreatic, ovarian, thyroid, blood (multiple myeloma) and brain (meningioma) cancers.

An estimated 640 million adults and 110 million children and adolescents were obese globally in 2013. According to the chairman of IARC Dr Graham Colditz, a professor of medicine and surgery at Washington University in St Louis has said that these 13 types of cancer account for 42% of all new cancer diagnoses. Cancer is the second leading cause of death, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on 25th August, 2016.

Obesity is defined as the excess of weight on a person’s body and can be measured using the body mass index (BMI) which is calculated as weight of a person in kilograms divided by the square of a person’s height in meters. Among adults, overweight is defined as a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 and obesity as a BMI of 30 or more. Obesity can further be divided into class 1 (BMI, 30.0 to 34.9), class 2 (BMI, 35.0 to 39.9), and class 3 (BMI, ≥40.0)

In 2013, an estimated 4.5 million deaths worldwide were caused by overweight and obesity. On the basis of recent estimates, the obesity-related cancer burden represents up to 9% of the cancer burden among women in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. What’s important to know is that most of the excess weight gain is largely determined by modifiable risk factors, such as excess diet and physical inactivity.

Researchers in this study also attempted to quantify the risk for obese people to develop this variety of cancers. They found that obese people were 1.8 times, 4.8 times and 7.1 times more likely to develop liver cancer, esophageal adenocarcinoma and uterine cancer, respectively. They also confirmed that for some of these cancers, as your weight goes up, so does the risk.

What justified the results of this study was how consistent the results were across different regions. Even trials that studied patients on the basis of waist measurements were consistent with trials that considered patients’ BMI. Waist circumference and body-weight gain in adulthood were also positively associated with the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.

The association between BMI and endometrial cancer was particularly pronounced for type 1 endometrial cancer. There was a strong dose-response relationship, with relative risks of approximately 1.5 for overweight, 2.5 for class 1 obesity, 4.5 for class 2 obesity, and 7.1 for class 3 obesity. A modest positive association was observed for epithelial ovarian cancer, with a relative risk of 1.1.

The researchers also investigated the BMI data in adolescents and young adults less than or equal to 25 years to assess whether BMI at those ages increased risk of cancer in later ages of their life.

Positive associations were reported for several cancers that were also known to be associated with increased adult BMI, with the notable exception of postmenopausal breast cancer. The associations were generally similar to those with adult BMI, albeit some differences in magnitude and patterns.

The researchers further investigated the effects of body fat on cancer reoccurrence and survival after diagnosis. They managed to observe considerable variation in study design, setting, and timing of body-fatness measurement relative to cancer diagnosis. There was a large volume of evidence supporting an association between increased BMI near the time of cancer diagnosis and reduced survival in patients with breast cancer, whereas evidence for other cancers was sparse and less consistent. What’s interesting to note is that variation in diet affected cancer recurrence since a low-fat diet intervention led to a modest weight loss, resulting in a reduction in breast-cancer recurrence.

After observing individuals who reduced weight by undergoing bariatric surgery, the study suggested that intentional weight loss may reduce cancer risk, notably for breast and endometrial cancer There was however insufficient data to clearly link these observations and form a clear evaluation.

The researchers further explored all the cellular biological mechanisms involved in obesity-related cancers and concluded that obesity was associated with substantial metabolic and endocrine abnormalities, including alterations in sex hormone metabolism, insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling, and adipokines or inflammatory pathways.

The team concluded that the presence of excess body fat increased the risk of many cancers. Moreover, a review of this link in animal models and detailed exploration of this link at the cellular/molecular level produced a causal cancer-preventive effect of intentional weight loss, although evidence in humans remains to be established.

The obesity crisis has gone so out of hand and with these latest findings, government agencies are looking to intervene to try to take back control and deal with this growing problem. One good example of such interventions is that the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) has started approving medical devices that help prevent obesity from reaching pandemic levels.

One of the devices approved by FDA is called Reshape Dual Balloon System, a balloon based obesity treatment, which was approved back in 2015. The most recent obesity-fighting medical device to get approval from the FDA is AspireAssist.

28 Comments
  1. Nofal Aizaz says

    Some cases of obesity are clearly the result of overeating – a compulsion of some sort. Stress eating is common among women. For overeating that’s the result of stress the societal solution might be removing the stressors. Low wages. Overwork. Lack of opportunity. Debt. High cost of housing. High taxes.

    Some cases of obesity may be the result of an underlying, poorly identified physical condition. Remember when ulcers were thought to be the result of neurosis? Now it’s understood that there’s a different cause. Maybe we need to look more closely at the issue of obesity and those thirteen diseases that are linked to it. Maybe obesity and food cravings are a symptom not a cause.

  2. Cristian Edward says

    This is something of a stressful topic in my opinion because I never thought that being fat can have so much of an effect our life. *CANCER* Starting the Gym right away

    1. Shanza Aleem says

      Not a stressful one but a helpful one

  3. Stewart John says

    I’ve gained some weight recently due to holidays. This news has scared the hell out of me. I want to work a way to stay away from Obesity.

  4. Julia Smith says

    Extra fat in the body can have harmful effects, like
    producing hormones and growth factors that affect the way our cells
    work. This can raise the risk of several diseases, including Cancer.

    1. Mike David says

      Yes Thats way Doctors say Exercise Should be a part of over Daily Routine.

      1. Nofal Aizaz says

        That keeps the Doctor away :p

  5. Julia Smith says

    My understanding is that excessive fat
    cells generate inflammation; and inflammation increases the risk of
    cancer/enhances cancer.

  6. Mike David says

    My understanding is that excessive fat cells generate inflammation; and inflammation increases the risk of cancer/enhances cancer.

  7. Daniel Gill says

    Whereas the mechanisms underlying the obesity-carcinogenesis relationship are not fully understood, sufficient evidence exists to support recommendations that adults and children maintain reasonable weight for their height and ages for multiple health benefits, including decreasing their risk of cancer.

  8. Robert Andrew says

    Fats? Linked to cancer?
    No more fast food. Fhew

    1. Mike David says

      Really Robert ….Did you think Fast Food make you Fat i dnt think so…

      1. Robert Andrew says

        Well I think fast foods are of the normal routine to a person like me

      2. Nofal Aizaz says

        But there is a lots of fat in fast food .! and infect we are talking about fats Mike so fast food is also including in it

        1. Ariana Jack says

          in fact is the correct term your looking for I see

          1. Nofal Aizaz says

            what are you taking about Ariana ???

    2. Nofal Aizaz says

      Yes Obviously linked to cancer and not only cancer also with 12 more diseases. !! cancer is not the only one which is linked with it. !

      1. Robert Andrew says

        Mind listing it out for me please

        1. Nofal Aizaz says

          But we dint have to take these things lite coz these things are result to major diseases afterward so we have to think on it

  9. Christina Stuart says

    Fats are bad. As I’ve always known. Got to tell my friends

    1. Elena Lawrence says

      Got it Christina!!

    2. Nofal Aizaz says

      Not only bad there are so many bad impacts of it like Raise Your Susceptibility to Heart Disease, Lead to Weight Gain, Make You Insulin-Resistant and infect it can Raise Your Cancer Risk .. !!

      1. Christina Stuart says

        Sure to keep an eye out for it now

  10. Jenny Kevin says

    I was thinking of gaining some weight. Thank God I found this article and thus not gonna do anything now. I’m good as I am now

    1. Ariana Jack says

      Thanks Jenny. You are a real friend

  11. Morbid Serenade says

    Obesity has become a near-epidemic problem in our nation. So at a groundbreaking summit on obesity earlier this month, leaders from academia, health care, industry, the media, and government gathered to discuss solutions to the problem. The idea behind the Time/ABC News Summit on Obesity was to look at the issues from all sides. The hope was to inspire attendees to go back to their communities and make a difference. So what are the latest strategies in the war on obesity? errrnnnn talk talk and talk …

    1. Mike David says

      The costs of obesity in society are high. Obesity-related disorders include diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, depression, and certain cancers. These disorders increase the costs in our healthcare system. This is something on everyone’s mind nowadays.

      So, with all of this information, why on Earth have we not made more progress in fighting the war against obesity? Why is it that more than one third of American adults (over 72 million people) and 17% of children aged 2 to 19 years are obese? Since 1990, obesity rates for adults have doubled and rates for children have tripled. No corner of our society is spared. Obesity affects all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, socioeconomic groups, education levels, and parts of the world.

    2. Daniel Gill says

      The war on obesity is not just about how many people are overweight or obese. It’s also about the biology, physiology, and complications related to obesity. Certain genes are involved. Obesity is not just a result of a person’s lack of willpower. The problem of weighing more than one should has many factors. These factors include biology, the environment, society, and even cultural issues.

      What environmental factors promote overeating? Fast foods, foods high in calorie content, impulsive eating, increased food selection, and skipped meals all have an impact on overeating. Stress and mood changes can also cause a person to have abnormal eating habits. Even boredom, fatigue, and just habit can cause one to eat more than the body needs.

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