Being Overweight Can Hike Your Cancer Risk

Published June 9, 2008

Posted FEb. 21, 2008  – As if you needed another reason to stay on your diet, here's shocking news. Being overweight, long linked to heart disease, diabetes and stroke, may heighten your risk for more types of cancer than previously thought, new research shows.

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Excessive weight was linked to common deadly cancers as well as more rare types, researcher Andrew Renehan, of the University of Manchester and Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, England, wrote in the British journal, The Lancet. .

The risk for some types of the different types of malignant tumors varied depending on gender and race. Essentially, African Americans have a higher risk for most types of cancers. 

And, while America as a whole is getting fatter, African Americans have higher rates of obesity than other ethnic groups. Obesity, linked to heart disease, diabetes and dementia, was associated with the cancers by looking for a connection between weight and the diseases in several studies.

Worldwide, cancer killed 7.6 million people last year, according to the American Cancer Society. The new research  "strongly supports previous evidence that excess bodyweight increases the risk of cancer,'' Susanna Larsson and Professor Alicja Wolk from Sweden's Karolinska Institute wrote in the commentary that accomanied The Lancet article.

Scientists previously found a connection between weight gain and colon and breast cancers. The new study shows weight may play a role in a dozen types of tumors, among them cancers of the kidney, esophagus, thyroid, uterus and gall bladder.

The report doesn't say obesity is a cause of the diseases, only that those who are overweight have a higher risk.

Renehan used the body mass index, or BMI, to analyze studies of a total of 282,137 cases to define the cancer risk. Higher BMIs boost your risk for esophageal tumors by 52 percent, thyroid cancer by 33 percent, and colon and kidney tumors each by 24 percent in men.

In women, it increased the risk of endometrial tumors by 59 percent, gallbladder cancer by 59 percent, esophageal tumors by 51 percent and kidney cancers by 34 percent. Excessive weight was also linked to increases in rectal cancer and malignant skin cancer in men, and postmenopausal breast, pancreatic, thyroid and colon cancers in women.

If you are concerned about your weight, here are some yummy food to help control your calories. Also, here's more on how to get some exercise at work.      

Written by BET-Staff

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