Published: Wed, February 06, 2019
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Obesity-linked cancer on the rise

Obesity-linked cancer on the rise

While the incidences of these cancers also rose in older adults-with the exception of colorectal-the data showed steeper increases in successively younger ages. The risk of colorectal, uterine corpus (endometrial), pancreas and gall bladder cancers in millennials, for example, was found to be about double the rate baby boomers faced at the same age, according to a press release on the report. He is scientific vice president for surveillance and health services research at the American Cancer Society.

Obesity - as Risky as Smoking? The study does not provide evidence of a causal relationship between obesity and cancer. CDC surveys show 18.5 percent of children ages 2 to 19 are obese. But the new research hints at a potential reversal of that progress. About one in 12 cancer cases in the United States are caused by excess weight, the researchers noted.

The data covered 30 types of cancer, 12 of which had previously been linked to obesity. In the youngest age group (of 25 to 29 years), it was 4.3%.

The risk, he said, was increasing in a stepwise manner in successively younger people. These cancers include multiple myeloma, colorectal, endometrial, gallbladder, kidney and pancreatic. "What this study is showing is that it's generations of people".

The younger the age group, the greater the size of the increase in all seven of the cancer types except for thyroid cancer.

Could Other Factors Play Into the Risk?

Only two types of non-obesity-related cancer, leukemia and a type of lower stomach cancer, increased among younger age groups during the study, suggesting that all cancer rates are not rising in this population. But they said the trends showed the alarming impact of the obesity epidemic.

The rate of breast cancer, also obesity-related, has not changed in young women. Even after losing weight, the cancer risk remains. "But I do think it's an important piece in understanding what obesity is doing at the population level". "How much each of those factors contribute to cancer is less clear".

In contrast to obesity-related cancers, rates of most of the 18 non-obesity related cancers did not increase among young adults during the study period.


"There are these noncausal aspects, too, that have to be paid attention to", Schwartz says. The cancer-obesity issue "is a really important topic because we've had an obesity crisis now for a number of decades", said John Jakicic, a professor and director of the Healthy Lifestyle Institute at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. Obesity rates have more than doubled in the U.S. between 1984 and 2014.

These findings seem to reflect the obesity epidemic that has been raging for 40 years, the study authors said.

Fat cells, known as adiopose cells, do more than store excess calories in the body.

"Shockingly, if the same is happening with cancer in the USA it could already be happening here". "The next generation of kids born will also experience higher rates".

"We need to make the public aware that there's no time that it's OK to be obese", Berger said.

"Health professionals, especially primary care physician, should increase obesity screening and counseling", Sung says.

Two in three adults in the United Kingdom are overweight or obese, along with one in three children leaving primary school.

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