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Cancers linked to obesity account for 40% of all cancers in the US, report states

By Sally Robertson, BScOctober 4, 2017

Being obese or overweight is linked to an increased risk of developing 13 types of cancer, according to the latest Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Cancer Institute. These cancers accounted for approximately 40% of all cancers diagnosed in the US, in 2014.

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Overall, the rate of newly diagnosed cancers has declined since the 1990s, but this progress is being slowed by increasing rates of new cancer cases related to obesity and overweight.

CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, says:

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.”

The 13 cancers, which were identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer include: multiple myeloma, adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, meningioma and cancers of the stomach, thyroid, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, postmenopausal breast, uterus, ovaries, kidney, colon and rectum (colorectal).

For the Vital Signs report, researchers analysed data from the United States Cancer Statistics report to assess cancer incidence in 2014. They also reviewed data from 2005 to 2014 to establish trends in obesity- and overweight-related cancers.

According to the findings, 630,000 individuals in the US were diagnosed with obesity- and overweight-related cancers in 2014. Fifty-five percent of all cancers diagnosed in women and 24% of those diagnosed in men were related to obesity and overweight.

Aside from colorectal cancer, the rates of cancer associated with obesity rose by 7% between 2005 and 2014, whereas the rates of cancers not associated with obesity fell by 13%.

The study also showed that two-thirds of adults in the US were overweight or obese in the year 2013 to 2014. Overweight is defined as a BMI of 25-299.9 kg/m2 and obesity as a BMI of 30 kg/m2or higher.

Many people are unaware that overweight and obesity are associated with certain cancers and Lisa Richardson from CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control advises that the best prescription for preventing cancer is good health. What that means to healthcare providers such as herself, she says, is “helping people to have the information they need to make healthy choices where they live, work, learn, and play.”

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