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Half-million worldwide cancers linked to obesity

Half-million worldwide cancers linked to obesity

Connecticut: Obesity is quickly overtaking tobacco as the leading preventable cause of cancer, and although data are still emerging, research suggests that the risk of developing and dying from many common cancers is increased in obese individuals. Obesity is also linked to poorer cancer outcomes, including increased risk of recurrence and of both cancer-specific and overall mortality.

Oncologists play a critical role in patient education, as well as in education of caregivers and families, regarding the importance of weight management. Oncologists are also often the main source of referrals to appropriate sources where patients and their families can receive sound guidance. ASCO is committed to informing oncology providers regarding the existing data linking obesity, inactivity and poor diet to poor outcomes in patients with cancer and to provide educational materials for patients regarding the role of weight management and healthy lifestyle behaviors in cancer.

Obesity and excess weight cause almost half a million new cancer cases each year worldwide – and almost two thirds occur in the developed countries of North America and Europe, a study has shown.

The relationship between obesity and prostate cancer has been studied extensively. The results of individual studies do not suggest a consistent association between obesity and prostate cancer. However, when the data from multiple studies are pooled, analyses show that obesity may be associated with a very slight increase in the risk of prostate cancer.

Some studies have shown a weak association between increasing BMI and risk of ovarian cancer, especially in premenopausal women, although other studies have not found an association. As with some other cancers, an association between ovarian cancer and obesity may reflect increased levels of estrogens.

Some evidence links obesity to liver cancer and to some types of lymphoma and leukemia, but additional studies is needed to confirm these associations.

Excess body weight caused about 481,000 new cancer cases in 2012, according to a new study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization.

That works out to about 3.6 per cent of all cancers worldwide, the majority of which occur in North America and Europe, according to the study published in the medical journal Lancet Oncology on Wednesday.

The study estimates that a quarter of all obesity-related cancers in 2012 are directly linked to rising average body mass index (BMI), especially in developed parts of the world where BMI has been increasing since the 1980s.