The Obesity-Cancer Association
Weight gain is a constant problem for many people, especially as you get older. It is difficult to lose weight and keep it off. When you take in more calories from food than you use during the day for basic biological requirements, you gain weight. Even worse, after a period of time, enough fat stores up on your body and this makes you obese. In the modern world, this process works against your health. Also, being overweight and obese raises your risk for many chronic health conditions and serious diseases, one being cancer.
Study Says Obese People More at Risk for Cancer
The American Cancer Society found in a recent study that people who are overweight are more at risk for developing certain forms of cancer than those who are of normal size, including esophagus, kidney, color, rectum, pancreas, and endometrium cancers. Being overweight or obese is not just a risk factor for developing cancer, it appears to affect cancer survivors as well.
Studies show that there is a worse survival chance for obese women who have breast cancer and men with prostate cancer who are overweight; they are more likely to develop an aggressive form of the disease.
The relationship between cancer and body weight is extremely alarming when you consider the number of Americans who are overweight or obese. The American Heart Association estimates that only one third of us are at a healthy body weight for our height.
What’s more, approximately 20 percent of children and teens are overweight or obese. These rates are 300 percent higher than the rates of the 1980s. Considering the risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems, this is a major concern for our country.
Scientific Evidence Links Obesity to Cancer
According to researchers, approximately one fifth of cancer deaths in the U.S. are linked to obesity. What they are uncertain about is how the fat is fueling the tumor growths. Dr. Stephen Hursting of the University of Texas found that among mice with identical genetics and the same types of tumors, the cancer is different for the heavier mouse. Scientific evidence shows that obese animals are more likely to develop cancer than their leaner counterparts. Also, the cancer in the obese animals grows faster, gets larger, and spreads quicker. Obese animal subjects with cancer also do not respond as well to treatment.
Overall, studies show that obese women are over 60 percent more likely to die from cancer than women who are of a healthy weight, according to experts. Additionally, obese men have a 50 percent more risk of cancer-related death compared to normal sized counterparts.
Although scientists and epidemiologists have long suspected that diet and cancer are connected, they continue to look for a reason for the obesity-cancer connection. As the rates of obesity soar in the U.S. and around the globe, there are still many questions that need answers.