Study: Obesity May Be Behind at Least 11 Types of Cancer

Obese woman testing

Canadian researchers found a strong link between obesity and risk of developing 11 types of cancer.

According to recent study, obesity can trigger 11 different types of cancer, most of which affect the gastrointestinal tract and hormone production. A research team combed through more than 200 meta-analyses and said they found “strong evidence” to back this claim.

The study revealed that obesity is often associated with multiple myeloma, colon cancer, rectal cancer, tumors in the biliary tract system, pancreatic cancer, oesophageal adenocarcinoma, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, kidney cancer, cancer of the gastric cardia, and ovary cancer.

Scientists also found that there is a “substantial uncertainty” about the association between other cancers and obesity. Still, researchers suspect obesity may somewhat contribute to the development of 25 other types of cancer. However, they called for further study.

Lead author Maria Kyrgiou noted the there is enough evidence to support the 11-cancer hypothesis, so every doctor should see their obese patients as individuals with a high risk of developing cancer. This way, physicians could come up with personalized approaches to shield their patients from cancer.

The research team noted that their findings underline how urgent the issue is in a time when cancer rates are surging and so is obesity. Obesity is also linked to higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and bone disease.

According to a Canadian report, 20 percent of adults are now obese, while worldwide the incidence of the disease has more than doubled over the last 30 years. Kyrgiou thinks obesty should be treated as a public health issue by all governments just like they do with smoking.

Obesity prevention, though, is not an easy task in a world where people don’t take the issue seriously. So far, the most effective treatments are a small number of drugs and weight loss surgery aka bariatric surgery. Prevention, however, should focus on a healthy diet, more exercise, and other lifestyle changes.

For instance, a plethora of studies showed that sleep deprivation can lead to overeating and boost the risk of obesity. This is because lack of sleep affect the hormones that control satiety cues.

Nevertheless, the latest study couldn’t tell how exactly the condition can lead to cancer in the long run as it has focused only on observational studies. Dr. Kyrgiou is confident that the 11 types of cancer could be a good place to start.
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