Studies Show Link Between Obesity and Cancer
If you’re overweight or obese, you’re not alone: According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), about 70 percent of adults in the United States are right there with you. That’s a sharp increase from 1994, when about 56 percent of U.S. adults were overweight or obese. Being obese carries significant health risks, such as sharp increases in the risk for diabetes, stroke, heart attack and, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, many types of cancer.
Obesity and cancer
NCI studies have shown that obese people are more likely to develop several types of cancer, including cancer of the esophagus, colon, rectum, pancreas, breast, kidney, thyroid and gallbladder, and possibly other types of cancer as well.
One major study that looked at the relationship between obesity and cancer found that roughly 34,000 new cancer diagnoses in men and 50,500 new cancer cases in women were due to obesity. In some cancers, such as esophageal and endometrial cancers, obesity was related to 40 percent of newly diagnosed cases.
The NCI predicts the trend in obesity will lead to an additional 500,000 cases of cancer by 2030. Interestingly, it also found that if adults reduced their body mass index (BMI) by just 1 percent, or about 2.2 pounds on average, the projected increase in cancer cases would drop significantly.
How does obesity affect cancer?
While the exact relationship between obesity and cancer risk hasn’t been firmly established, there are a few hypotheses:
- Fatty tissue produces estrogen, which has been implicated in several cancers, including endometrial and breast cancers.
- Increased levels of insulin are common among obese men and women, which can promote the development and growth of specific types of cancerous tumors.
- The hormone leptin, which occurs at higher levels in obese people, promotes cell proliferation, which is at the heart of cancer growth. Fat tissue may also affect chemicals that regulate tumor growth.
- Obesity has also been associated with chronic levels of inflammation, which has been implicated not only in an increased risk of cancer but in the development of many other types of diseases, including cardiovascular disease.
Lose weight and keep it off
Several observational studies have shown a link between losing weight and lowering the risk of cancer. The key is to keep it off for good. Of course, that’s usually easier said than done, especially if you’re trying to lose weight on your own. Having professional support can greatly improve your success.
For many years, obesity was considered a problem of willpower, but the American Medical Association now classifies it as a disease. Obesity has spread across the United States in recent history, leaving about two-thirds of American adults overweight or obese and at risk of developing obesity related diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
By its simplest definition, obesity means we have too much body fat, but the causes and effects of the condition can be complicated.
Reviewing Your Weight Loss Options
Weight loss is a huge industry in the United States. More than $60 billion is spent on weight loss programs, dieting methods, gym memberships and celebrity endorsed obesity-cures annually, and that number continues to grow. With an estimated two-thirds of the U.S adult population struggling with their weight this is not too surprising. Unfortunately, not all of this money will be invested into programs that encourage long-term weight loss.
How Does Fat Affect Us?
Fat can slow us down and change the ways our bodies look, but it can also affect us on a chemical level. Though we often think of fat as useless cushioning, body fat can have a strong influence on the body’s functions and contribute to numerous health problems as we develop more of it.
“Excess body fat sets off a whole cascade of medical conditions that include inflammation of the arteries and inflammation throughout the body,” says Dr. Robert Ziltzer, a medical obesity specialist.
Belviq for Weight Loss
Weight loss medications play a critical role in the weight loss process. The goal of medications is to encourage healthy habits by making it easier to follow a low-calorie diet. When combined with healthy dietary habits and regular activity, weight loss medications can encourage long-term weight loss success.
Belviq (lorcaserin) is an FDA-approved weight loss medication that influences appetite to reduce calorie consumption. It was the first medication of its kind to be approved by the FDA in a 13-year period.
Qsymia for Weight Loss
Qsymia is an FDA-approved weight loss medication that promotes weight loss by controlling appetite. The medication is recommended as one component of a comprehensive weight loss plan that features physician guidance and support, dietary changes and regular physical activity. When used in conjunction with healthy behaviors like these, the medication is proven to enhance weight loss.
What is a Bariatrician?
A bariatrician, also known as a bariatric physician or more recently an obesity medicine specialist, is a licensed physician with detailed training in the many aspects of medicine that are affected by obesity. Because of the surprising complexity of the disease of obesity, it takes a specialized weight loss physician, a bariatrician, to help patients lose weight, maintain weight loss, and avoid medical conditions and complications that are often associated with being overweight or obese.
Where is that Weight Coming From?
Obesity rates in the U.S. have soared in the past five decades, climbing from 13.4 percent of the adult population in 1960, to 35.7 percent in 2012. Nearly 70 percent of adults are either overweight or obese. While many people would like to blame obesity on genetic factors, these data tell a different story.
Yes, some people may have a genetic predisposition to excess weight, but for the vast majority of the population, there are other factors at play.