We’ve long known that the incidence of cancer is higher in people who are 40% or more over ideal weight.Â Men are prone to prostate and colorectal cancers.Â Women get cancers of the endometrium (uterus), gallbladder, cervix, ovary, and breast.Â Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk of kidney cancer and esophageal adenocarcinoma.
A recently published study from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom recruited 1.2 million middle-aged women and monitored theirÂ cancer status over five to seven years.Â What’s new with this study is that they found overweight women to have a higher incidence of leukemia, multiple myeloma, pancreatic cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, colorectal cancer in premenopausal women, and breast cancer in postmenopausal women.Â The effect of overweight and obesity dependedÂ on menopausal status for the following cancers: colorectal cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, endometrial cancer.
Studies with this manyÂ recruitees are rare and tend toÂ be much more reliable than smaller studies.
The study authors attributeÂ 5% of all cancers in postmenopausal UK women to overweight and obesity.Â They attribute half of all endometrial cancers and esophageal adenocarcinomas in postmenopausal women to overweight and obesity.
A statistical associationÂ between cancer and overweight does not prove that overweight causes cancer, but the situation is certainly suspicious.
According to the American Cancer Society, overweight and obesity contribute to 14 to 20% of all cancer-related deaths in the U.S.Â Over 500,000 people die from cancer yearly in the U.S.
Like smoking and inactivity, overweight and obesity are modifiable risk factors for cancer.Â Â Lose your excess weight and you are likely to lower your riskÂ of developing cancer.
Steve Parker, M.D., author of TheÂ Advanced Mediterranean Diet: Lose Weight, Feel Better, Live LongerÂ Â www.AdvancedMediterraneanDiet.com
Reference:Â Reeves, Gillian K.,Â et al.Â Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Relation to Body Mass Index in the Million Women Study: Cohort Study.Â British Medical Journal, 335 (2007): 1134.