Did you know that obesity is strongly associated with an increased risk for developing certain types of cancer? In 2003, the American Cancer Society stated that obesity increased the risk for the following types of the disease:
• Breast cancer (after menopause)
• Cervical cancer
• Colon or rectal cancer
• Esophageal cancer
• Gall bladder cancer
• Kidney cancer
• Liver cancer
• Multiple myeloma
• Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
• Ovarian cancer
• Pancreas cancer
• Stomach cancer (in men)
• Uterine cancer
Scientists are currently working to uncover the exact mechanism that links obesity and cancer, but for now, it seems that the causative link between these two conditions may be dependant on a number of factors. For instance, obesity can increase the likelihood of one developing GERD, which creates a chronic inflammatory state in the esophagus, which in turn, could lead to esophageal cancer. The same could be said about IBS and colon cancer. On the other hand, hormones can also play a big role in cancer development. Fat cells produce estrogen, and excess estrogen in associated with breast and endometrial cancers. Adipose tissues also produce excess insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1, which can promote the development of certain tumors. In addition, there is evidence that fat cells may have direct and indirect influence on the cell cycle. Research suggests that these cells will promote cell division due to the excess amounts of leptin they create. There is also less inhibition via reduced amounts of adiponectin, a molecule with anti-proliferative effects that are typically seen in obese individuals. This state of increased proliferation can be a cause of cancer.
Although there are many proposed mechanisms on how obesity can lead to cancer, there is no doubt that there is a strong link between these two conditions. In 2008, the American Cancer Society reported that between 14% and 20% of reported caner deaths could be attributed to weight problems. In fact, obesity can account for as many as 40% of new cases of certain types of cancer, such as endometrial cancer and esophageal adenocarcinoma. With as many as one third of Americans overweight or obese, and the problem continuing to expand, these figures could forecast a bleak outcome for many patients. The National Cancer Institute performed a projection of the future health and economic burden of obesity in 2030 based on the current obesity trends that exist today. They found that as many as 500,000 additional cases of cancer would exist in the future. They also found that if every adult were to lose 1% of their BMI, up to 100,000 cases of cancer could be prevented.
Remember, losing weight not only lowers the risk of developing these cancers, but it also helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, and can increase energy and overall wellness. At New Horizon, we don’t only want to get you healthier; we want to keep you that way! Let us help you lower your risk today!


American Cancer Society. (2008). ACS report calls for greater cancer prevention efforts. Retrieved July 1, 2010, from http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/news/acs-report-calls-for-greater-cancer-prevention-efforts.

National Cancer Institute (2012, January, 3). Obesity and Cancer Risk. Retrieved January, 13 2012, from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/obesity

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