Obesity and Cancer

Obesity and Cancer

The statistics are formidable — a man has a 42% chance of acquiring some form of cancer in his lifetime; a woman 38%. As researchers continue to learn more about the complex factors that cause cancer and search for effective treatments, we can look at the risk factors within our control to minimize our personal risk. Obesity, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption and poor nutrition increase the risk for many types of cancer. Out of these factors, excess weight may be the biggest risk factor, contributing to as many as 1 out of 5 cancer deaths.

Cancers of the breast (in women past menopause), colon and rectum, endometrium (lining of the uterus), esophagus, kidney, and pancreas are clearly linked to excess weight. Excess weight may also raise the risk of developing other cancers such as gallbladder, liver, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, cervix, ovary, and aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

Type of Cancer Increased Risk from Excess Weight
Endometrial 2-4 Times
Esophageal 2 Times
Gastric 2 Times
Liver or Kidney 2 Times
Pancreatic 1.5 Times
Colorectal 30% More Likely
Breast (post-menopausal only) 20-40% More Likely

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