Obesity second only to tobacco in promoting cancer development
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/08/2013 -- On the list of first things that come to anyone's mind when talking about cancer risks is tobacco, exposure to UV rays, radiation, and family lineage and genetics.
What many likely do not consider is the fact that obesity is also a large factor in the creation of cancer. In fact, the obesity factor comes in only second to tobacco as the leading factor for cancer risk.
The tally comes up to 30% of all cancers, including breast, colon, esophageal, stomach, pancreatic, and uterine cancer are all linked to obesity. Considering that there are nearly 36% of adults with obesity within the United States, it ought to surprise no one that the epidemic is a major cause of cancer.
“Being overweight and inactive can lead to a host of general health problems, but it’s also linked to things like increased hormone levels, changes in insulin levels, and chronic hypertension, all of which put you at higher risk for many types of cancers,” said Dr. Melhem Jabbour, medical oncologist at the St. Francis Medical Center’s Cancer Treatment Center.
“In addition, cancer patients and survivors who are overweight or obese may have a reduced quality of life, diminished prognosis, or higher risk of recurrence than patients who are at a healthy weight.”
A handful of studies have shown that obesity and mortality risk go hand-and-hand when it comes to particularity types of cancer. Each have noted that obese individuals carry a larger chance of developing cancer, as well as higher mortality rates from the disease following its developing.
The biggest challenge for specialists and general practitioners is that the link to overeating and those who cannot seem to shake obesity is a less direct causal line than tobacco users. When it comes to tobacco, the treatment is dealing with the addiction. With diet, it can be a factor, but is not necessarily the lone or dominant cause.
“The bottom line is that excess weight and a sedentary lifestyle put your health at risk,” said Maureen Hildebrand, St. Francis Cancer Treatment Center dietician. “Obese individuals suffer from more health complications and have a 30 percent higher overall mortality rate than healthy individuals.”
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