Doctors should screen their adult patients for obesity and refer those who are obese to an intensive behavioral program. That’s the recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent group of health experts that reviews published research and makes recommendations about preventive health care.
Over 60% of American adults are overweight or obese, which puts them at higher risk for many cancers, diabetes and heart disease. Yet a recent study found that only 30% of doctors reported discussing weight with obese patients. This task force recommendation explains the evidence and provides specific guidance for how doctors can help patients on the path to healthier weight.
The Affordable Care Act upheld today by the US Supreme Court is far-reaching and complex — so complex that, according to many polls, most Americans still don’t truly understand exactly how it will affect their lives.
The politics behind the legislation remains controversial. Today, however, as a cancer research and education organization dedicated to prevention, we’d like to address one specific aspect of the law that has nothing to do with political party, namely: How it sets out to broaden our national approach to diseases like cancer by placing an unprecedented amount of focus on prevention.
This helpful page on www.healthcare.gov lists the many preventive care services covered in the Affordable Care Act. Many of these relate directly to cancer prevention, including: colorectal cancer screenings and mammography.
But there’s much more to cancer prevention than screening tests. This is why AICR applauds the inclusion of more pervasive, lifestyle-based services, including those that have been shown to directly affect cancer risk:
Smoking cessation counseling
Dietary counseling (for those at high risk)
Alcohol abuse counseling
We are heartened to see a governmental approach tackling the underlying roots of cancer risk, not simply treating the disease. We hope today’s decision ushers in a more comprehensive approach to cancer prevention – because AICR has shown that getting the public to move more, weigh less and eat smart could prevent hundreds of thousands of US cancers ever year, and save millions of lives.
Understand: This is only the beginning. More and better prevention efforts are sorely needed and long overdue. But if there’s one thing our policy report makes clear, it’s that government can’t do it alone. All levels of society – industry, schools, health professionals, the media, individuals – helped get us to where we are now, and must play a role in the kind of sweeping societal changes needed to make it easier for everyone to make healthy, cancer protective choices.
AICR’s expert report and its updates have found that excess body fat increases the risk of developing breast cancer in postmenopausal women. As scientists are learning, how excess body fat plays a role in breast cancer varies by cancer type.
In a study published last month in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, scientists looked at the role excess body fat plays in the development of two types of triple-negative breast cancers. These types of breast tumors don’t respond to hormones and growth factors that typically fuel less aggressive types of breast cancer.
One of the changes that occurs in these two types of breast cancers is EMT, or epithelial mesenchymal transition. EMT signals early development of cancer in epithelial cells, the cells that line the breasts and other organs. It is recognized as a feature of many aggressive tumors. Read more… “Study: How Obesity May Trigger Certain Breast Cancers”
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American Institute for Cancer Research
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