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.
Melanoma is one of the most common cancers in the US and is the leading cause of skin cancer death. The National Cancer Institute estimates there will be 74,000 new cases in 2015. Currently, the only established lifestyle risk factor for this disease is exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR), primarily from sun and tanning beds.
Now, a new analysis from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study links coffee drinking with lower risk for the most aggressive form of melanoma. The study used data from 1/2 million non-Hispanic whites who were cancer-free and aged 50-71 when the study began in 1995.
The researchers looked at participants’ daily coffee intake – none; one cup or less; 2-3 cups or 4 or more cups. They found that those drinking 4 or more cups of coffee a day had a 20% lower risk for the aggressive type of melanoma – called malignant melanoma – compared to non-coffee drinkers. Then, they looked at whether participants drank decaf or caffeinated coffee. They did not find a significant difference in malignant melanoma risk for decaf drinkers compared to non-drinkers, but for those who drank regular coffee, there was a 25% lower risk compared to non-coffee consumers. Continue reading