Prevent Cancer: Avoid Obesity Risks
This is the latest message from national health authorities. They believe many people are unaware of the cancer risks associated with being obese or overweight.
Indeed, carrying extra weight is associated with an increased risk for 13 types of cancer. These cancers account for about 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States in 2014, according to a recent Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“A majority of American adults weigh more than recommended – and being overweight or obese puts people at higher risk for a number of cancers – so these findings are a cause for concern,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. in a news release. “By getting to and keeping a healthy weight, we all can play a role in cancer prevention.”
The report underscores the importance of reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Losing weight not only helps you prevent cancer, it can also lower your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes.
In 2014, according to the report, about 630,000 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with a cancer associated with being overweight or obese. Obesity is when you have a body mass index of 30 or higher. Two-thirds of the cancers affected adults between the ages of 50 and 74. At that time, about two out of three adults in the U.S. were considered overweight or obese.
Prevent cancer: Maintain healthy weight.
Despite widespread awareness of the national obesity epidemic, many people do not understand its connection to cancer, federal officials say. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified 13 cancers associated with overweight and obesity. They include: meningioma, multiple myeloma, adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, and cancers of the thyroid, postmenopausal breast, gallbladder, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, ovaries, uterus, colon and rectum (colorectal). Screening for colorectal cancer prevents new cases by finding abnormal growths in the colon and rectum before they turn into cancer.
The federal report also found:
- 55 percent of all cancers diagnosed in women and 24 percent of those diagnosed in men are associated with being overweight or obese.
- Cancers associated with overweight and obesity, excluding colorectal cancer, increased 7 percent between 2005-2014. Colorectal cancer decreased 23 percent, due in large part to screening. Cancers not associated with overweight and obesity decreased 13 percent.
- Cancers associated with overweight and obesity, excluding colorectal cancer, increased among adults younger than age 75.
“As an oncologist, when people ask me if there’s a cure for cancer, I say, ‘Yes, good health is the best prescription for preventing chronic diseases, including cancer,’ ” said Lisa C. Richardson, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. “What that means to healthcare providers like me is helping people to have the information they need to make healthy choices where they live, work, learn, and play.”
Source: CDC news release