Cancer and Obesity: The Links Explored

Most people know that being significantly overweight is detrimental to one’s health, regardless of age or fitness level, but did you know that obesity will soon become the Cancer Blue Markernumber one risk factor for cancer, even surpassing tobacco use? Research shows that being a healthy body weight may cut your risk of getting certain kinds of cancer.

During the last two decades, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States, and rates remain high. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 35 percent of adults and approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents aged 2 years to 19 years are obese. The rate is highest in people older than age 40.

Researchers are exploring several ideas for how extra body fat may increase a person’s cancer risk. The answer appears to be slightly different for each type of cancer, but the bottom line is that obesity seems to cause chronic inflammation, which in turn may promote cancer development. Does that mean if you achieve a normal body weight you won’t get cancer? Unfortunately no. However, the key scientific findings do show that a healthy body weight can minimize risk.

Some types of cancer appear to be closely linked to carrying extra weight:

  • Breast (in women who have been through menopause)
  • Colon and rectal
  • Uterine
  • Kidney
  • Esophageal
  • Pancreatic
  • Endometrial
  • Thyroid
  • Gallbladder

Obesity-related pain or irregular hormone levels can disguise some of the early warning signs of some cancers. Fatty tissue may also make it difficult for doctors to see smaller tumors on imaging scans. A later-stage diagnosis often means a lower chance for survival or could necessitate more invasive therapy. Additionally, surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and other treatments may be challenged by a patient’s size. If the patient needs an operation, excess fat can put them at higher risk of complications because there is greater physical difficulty in performing the procedure if the anatomy is obscured by fatty tissue or difficult to recognize. In addition, poorer circulation and oxygen supply to excess fatty tissue impairs healing. Obesity associated medical conditions — sleep apnea, diabetes and a propensity to form blood clots — may also interfere with recovery.

Read more on this topic online at:

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering bariatric surgery to help you get to a healthy weight for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Heidi Ryan. She and her team of experts can help you find the best treatment for you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s