If you’re someone who’s battling the condition of obesity, you’re probably well aware of the overwhelming list of associated unpleasant health challenges. But did you know that there is growing evidence that higher amounts of body fat are associated with increased risks of a number of cancers?
Every individual has an innate or acquired risk towards specific types of cancer. However, the likelihood of this risk turning into reality is usually driven by one or more risk factors. One such risk factor is obesity.
How Does Obesity Increase My Cancer Risk?
Many people mistakenly think that cancer is an inherited condition, but this is not the case. While researchers continue to unravel how extra body fat spurs tumor growth, what we do know is that obesity is associated with a 2-3 fold increased risk.
How does this work? Well, excess body weight influences your cancer risk a number of ways, including:
- Obese people often have chronic inflammation, which over time cause DNA damage that leads to cancer.
- Fat tissue produces excess amounts of estrogen, and high levels are associated with higher risks of breast, endometrial, ovarian, and some other cancers.
- Obese people often have high levels of insulin in their blood. High levels of insulin may promote the development of colon, kidney, prostate, and endometrial cancers.
- Fat cells may have direct and indirect effects on other cell growth regulators.
Which Cancers Are Linked to Obesity?
According to the National Cancer Institute, there are 35,000-50,000 new cases of cancer each year due to obesity, and it is now said to account for 20% of all cancer deaths.
Obesity is linked to many forms of cancer, including:
- Breast (in women past menopause)
- Colon and rectum
- Endometrium (lining of the uterus)
- Kidney, and
Plus it increases your risk of other cancers, including gallbladder, liver, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, cervix, ovary, and aggressive forms of prostate cancer. Below you can see percentages of cases linked to obesity:
So, What Can You Do?
Actually, a lot.
While this might leave you feeling a little gloomy, instead, make this knowledge your closest ally, because it’s never too late to take charge of your life and alter course.
What we know for sure is that there are ways to avoid this kind of future. The reality is that for 99% of people, non-surgical therapy (diet, exercise, meditation, etc.) simply doesn’t work.
Weight loss surgery for obesity, when combined with behavior and lifestyle modification, is currently the most reliable and only choice for long-term maintenance of excess weight loss.
Studies have even shown that obese people who have bariatric surgery appear to have lower risks of obesity-related cancers than those who do not.
In fact, getting to, and maintaining, a healthy weight could prevent 320 cases of cancer each day.
Nobody wants to be obese, and nobody wants to get cancer, but the facts and research are building around the impact of obesity causing damage to nearly every body system. There is now sufficient evidence of a relationship between obesity and cancer, and the benefits of achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight are clear.
So if together we can begin to understand these facts about obesity and cancer we can then use that as fuel to power changes that keep you (and others) out of the current gloomy statistics.
This approach can not only decrease the risk of developing cancer, but provides a multitude of other health and wellness benefits.
Take the next step and learn more about your options by either visiting our website or better yet, give us a call today at 740-475-0442, and speak to our friendly Bariatric Coordinator Angela.