Can Obesity Cause Cancer?

The obesity rate in the U.S. has increased dramatically in the last decade, and interestingly enough, so has the cancer rate. Could there be a link between the two? Many people believe that there is no correlation between obesity and cancer, but according to a recent study, there may be more connecting the two than you might think!]

The Obesity-Cancer Link

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study stating that over 1/3 of the U.S. adult and youth population is overweight. That means over 100 million people weigh more than they should. That’s a lot of people with serious obesity problems!

Obesity is a threat in many ways. Not only can being overweight increase your risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome, but you’ll find that obesity can lead to serious heart problems. Heart disease and cardiovascular disorders are the #1 cause of death in the world today, so you  can see why obesity is such a troubling problem.

It has been long suspected that obesity is correlated to cancer, and a new study published in The Lancet–a U.K. publication–proved that there is a link. The study looked at the medical records belonging to over 5 million U.K. adults from the years 1987 to 2012, evaluating the records to see in what ways obesity affected a person’s cancer risk.

Of the 5 million people, nearly 167,000 adults developed cancer during the period studied. Of those cancer cases, obesity was linked to 17 different types of cancer. That’s a VERY high number of cancers connected to obesity, including:

Colon cancer — Cancer forming in your large intestines (colon)

Cervical cancer — Cancerous growth in the cervix (women only)

Post-Menopausal Cancer — Cancer forming after menopause (older women only)

Thyroid cancer — Cancerous growth in the thyroid glands

Ovarian cancer — Cancerous growth in the ovaries (women only)

Leukemia — Cancer in the bone marrow

Gallbladder cancer — Cancer forming in the gall bladder

Uterine cancer — Cancer growing in the uterus (women only)

Liver cancer — Cancer growing in the liver

Kidney cancer — Cancer growing in one or both kidneys

Obesity is linked to these TEN different types of cancer, and the study discovered that a higher BMI was directly connected to an increase in cancer risk.

The study discovered that with every 5 kilograms of excess weight per square meter, the risk of uterine cancer went up by 62%, the risk of gallbladder cancer increased by 31%, the risk of kidney cancer increased by 25%, the risk of liver cancer increased by 19%, and the risk of the other cancers listed above increased by 10%.

Thankfully, not all cancers are linked to excess body weight. Prostate cancer among men, for example, has NOT been connected to obesity, and premenopausal breast cancer in women (usually younger than 40 or 45) is another one that has not been linked to cancer. Also, just because obesity has been linked to cancer, it doesn’t necessarily mean that being obese is guaranteed to lead to cancer problems.

However, for those who want to live a long, healthy, and cancer-free life, it’s worth noting that the 10 types of cancer above are all linked to obesity. It makes a good case for you to do what you can to lose weight by dieting, living right, and doing plenty of exercise. You can drastically reduce your risk of these 10 common cancers forming, and you’ll be getting healthy at the same time. It’s a win-win situation, so it’s in your best interest to start living a healthy, weight loss-oriented life!

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