The Link Between Obesity and Cancer
Smoking has long been the most prevalent preventable cause of cancer in the US for many years, leading to over a half million deaths per year. Thanks to a reduction of smoking in the general population though, cancer rates have fallen steadily in the last 30 years.
However, according to recent studies, cancer rates could begin to increase again as a result of obesity-related health issues. Many people are unaware that there could be a link between cancer and weight. Most know about the link between excess weight and heart disease or diabetes, but excess weight ” has been associated in recent years with an increased risk of getting at least 13 types of cancer, including stomach, pancreatic, colorectal and liver malignancies, as well as postmenopausal breast cancer. Researchers at the American Cancer Society say that excess body weight is linked to about 8 percent of all cancers in the United States and about 7 percent of cancer deaths.”
Specifically, people with higher percentages of weight tend to have higher recidivism rates of cancer and lower survival rates. Some cancers are occurring at higher rates in younger populations than in previous generations.
The cause of the correlation between weight and cancer is still unknown. But researchers are focusing on the “visceral” fat that surrounds internal organs. Rather than being a harmless glob, this fat is a “metabolically active organ” that produces hormones such as estrogen, which is associated with a higher risk of breast and some other cancers, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, a nonprofit group that focuses on diet, nutrition and cancer.”
In the US, over two-thirds of people are overweight or obese, with the obesity rates continuing to rise.
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