Obesity rates continue to climb, and that’s not good for cancer prevention

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.

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Study: Obesity Increases Breast Cancer Risk, Preventing Weight Gain Key

Postmenopausal women who are overweight — and especially obese — have a greater risk of developing breast cancers, finds a new study that highlights the importance of preventing weight gain, as it also raises questions about whether losing weight necessarily reduces that risk.

The study adds to a consistent body of research showing that overweight and obesity increases women’s risk of postmenopausal breast cancers. It was published yesterday in JAMA Oncology.

AICR estimates that a third of US breast cancers could be prevented if women were at a healthy weight throughout life, were active and did not drink alcohol.

In this study, as other research has seen, the heavier the women, the greater the risk. Women categorized as the most obese were at almost double the risk of the most common type of breast cancer, ER-positive, along with PR-positive tumors. These cancers are fueled by the hormones estrogen and progesterone, respectively.

The study used data from approximately 67,000 women who were all part of the Women’s Health Initiative trials. That study focused on preventing certain cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis. When the women entered the study in the mid 1990s they were 50 to 79 years old, and they were weighed. They also answered questions about their lifestyle habits, medical history and other health risk factors. After that, they were weighed annually and had regular mammograms. Continue reading

Study: Almost Half a Million Cancers Worldwide Due to Obesity

Almost half a million cancer cases worldwide are due to the rising rates of overweight and obesity, making many of the most common cancers potentially avoidable, says a new study published in The Lancet Oncology.canstockphoto12101428

The study was funded in part by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) International, which AICR is a member. AICR and WCRF now estimate that approximately 122,000 cases of cancers in the US are due to overweight and obesity.

Researchers in The Lancet study calculated that  481,000 – 3.6% – of all new cancer cases in adults worldwide were attributable to high BMI in 2012, the latest global data available.

Obesity-related cancers are more likely to affect women than men, largely due to endometrial and post-menopausal breast cancers, according to the study. In men, excess weight was responsible for 1.9% or 136,000 new cancers in 2012, and in women it was 5.4% or 345,000 new cases. Continue reading