Both here in the US and around the world, obesity rates continue to climb. Today, for the first time, more people are classified as obese than underweight, finds a major new study published in The Lancet.
The findings have severe implications for cancer rates. Aside from not smoking, staying a healthy weight is the single largest risk factor related to cancer risk. AICR research links excess body fat to ten cancers, including colorectal, postmenopausal breast and esophageal.
Here in the US, if everyone were a healthy weight, AICR estimates that approximately 128,000 cases of cancer could be prevented each year.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, yet it remains the third most common cancer among US men and women.
The good news is that rates have declined 30 percent among people 50 years of age and older, however incidence and mortality among individuals under 50 are on the rise and expected to climb. Among 20-34 year olds, rates of colorectal cancer have increased 51% since 1994 and in the period from 2010-2030, colorectal cancer in this age group is expected to increase by 90 percent.
At the Early Age Colorectal Cancer Onset Summit last week, I was one of the speakers talking about the concerning increase in this cancer among adults in their 20s through 40s.
Among 20-34 year olds, rates of colorectal cancer have increased 51% since 1994 – and in the period from 2010-2030, colorectal cancer in this age group is expected to increase by 90%.
Alarmingly, cancers in the under 50 population are diagnosed at later stages (most often due to delays in diagnosis) and appear to be more aggressive tumor types, both of which have implications for prognosis and survival.
What’s unknown is the cause of young onset colorectal cancer.
By now you’ve probably heard about the report last week categorizing hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats as a cause of colorectal cancer, and probably red meats also. In general, that supports AICR’s longstanding and continuous analysis of the research.
Since 2007, AICR has recommended to avoid processed meat and eat no more than 18 ounces of (cooked) red meat weekly to lower cancer risk. If you’re used to eating red meat or that daily salami sandwich, shifting your diet may seem daunting.
Here are swap suggestions to help. For the recipes, visit our updated Healthy Recipes.