Overweight and Cancer Risk

New study confirms overweight as a major Cancer risk factor.

Being overweight or obese may increase your risk of contracting one of the 10 of the most common cancers. While it is well known that overweight can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, recent research by Dr. Krishnan Bhaskaran, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in the UK and published in the medical journal The Lancet, also suggests that overweight and obesity substantially increases the risk of Cancer. 
The risk is particularly strong in the case of the following common cancers: Womb (62% increased risk); Gallbladder (31% increased risk); Kidney (25% increased risk); Cervical (10% increased risk); Thyroid (9% increased risk); Leukaemia (9% increased risk). The researchers also found that overweight and obesity was associated with a 19% higher risk of liver cancer, a 10% higher risk of colon cancer, a 9% higher risk of ovarian cancer and a 5% increased risk of breast cancer, together with some risk of prostate cancer.

Dr Bhaskaran's research team noted that all increased risks varied both with different cancers and with an individual’s overweight, sex and menopausal status; the overweight affecting cancer risk through a number of different processes, depending on the cancer type.


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From their findings, the team calculated that overweight or obesity possibly accounts for 41% of womb cancers in the UK and more than 10% of all gallbladder, kidney, liver and colon cancers. They also calculate that on current UK weight increase trends, an added 8 – 10 pounds in adult weight across the UK population could eventually cause an additional 3790 cases of the 10 most common cancers every year; a daunting statistic that provides food for thought about our individual dietary regime.
Other studies relating to Diet and Cancer highlight  processed red meat, salt, sugar and artificial sweeteners as potential cancer risks.  We should be aware that salt, sugar and sweeteners are hidden in alarming quantities in processed foods and drinks. An overly sweet tooth can lead to overweight and obesity which is a major Cancer risk factor. 

Your overall diet can affect your Cancer risk. About one-third of all Cancers can be prevented by eating well, being active and maintaining a healthy body weight. 

Eating well is all about balance. Specific types of food can reduce or increase the risk of cancer. For example, eating plenty of fibre, fruit and vegetables can help maintain a healthy body weight, which reduces the risk of Cancer. But eating processed meat increases the risk of Colorectal Cancer. 


The foods we choose to eat can help us get to and stay at a healthy weight, which reduces cancer risk. 


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