Overweight and Obesity Linked to Ten Cancers
Scientists have long suspected there’s a link between obesity and a higher risk of getting certain cancers. But now the largest, most comprehensive study of its kind has determined that a high body mass index (BMI) is clearly associated with a greater risk of developing ten common cancers.
Researchers looked at more than five million adults living in the United Kingdom to determine that incremental increases in BMI are associated with greater risks of gallbladder, uterine, kidney, cervical, liver, thyroid, ovarian, colon and breast cancers. The risk of leukemia was also elevated with increasing body weight.
In a press release issued by the influential medical journal, The Lancet, study leader Dr. Krishnan Bhaskaran said, “The number of people who are overweight or obese is rapidly increasing both in the UK and worldwide. It is well recognized that this is likely to cause more diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Our results show that if these trends continue, we can also expect to see substantially more cancers as a result.”
Investigators estimate that excess weight could account for 41% of uterine and 10% or more of gallbladder, kidney, liver, and colon cancers in the UK. Given that obesity and overweight continue to climb in the developed world, obesity can be expected to add substantially to ballooning healthcare expenditures and loss of life. In online commentary regarding the results, Dr Peter Campbell, from the American Cancer Societysaid, “We have sufficient evidence that obesity is an important cause of unnecessary suffering and death from many forms of cancer…”
Krishnan Bhaskaran, Ian Douglas, Harriet Forbes, Isabel dos-Santos-Silva, David A Leon, Liam Smeeth. Body-mass index and risk of 22 specific cancers: a population-based cohort study of 5·24 million UK adults. The Lancet, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60892-8