Excess body fat now linked to 13 different cancers


Having excess fat on your body has been linked to a total of 13 different cancers, according to latest research.1

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had previously linked five cancers to being overweight or obese. However, their new findings have come from a recent review of previously published studies linking weight and cancer.

While there are a number of factors involved in the development of cancer, such as people smoking, a lack of exercise or an unhealthy diet, scientists have long seen evidence that being overweight increases the likelihood of cancer.

The cancers now linked by the IARC, who are a group of cancer experts based around the world, include oesophageal cancer, one form of stomach cancerbowel cancer, liver cancer, gallbladder cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer in postmenopausal women, womb cancer, ovarian cancer, kidney cancer, meningioma (a type of brain tumour), thyroid cancer and multiple myeloma (cancer of the white blood cells.)

One notable example is that the risk of oesophageal cancer increases five-fold for people in the highest BMI category, in comparison to people of a normal weight.

Although there is no proven method of avoiding cancer, lowering your weight to a healthy level can help to reduce the risk. Of course, being overweight has a number of other health implications too, such as increasing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, so there are a number of good reasons to slim down if you are carrying too much weight.

Reference

1 Lauby-Secretan B, Scoccianti C, Loomis D, et al. Body Fatness and Cancer - Viewpoint of the IARC Working Group. The New England Journal of Medicine. Published online August 25 2016

Headlines

The big fat cancer curse: Scientists link obesity to thirteen types of disease including the ovaries, stomach and liver. Daily Mail, August 24 2016

Putting on weight can increase risk of 13 different cancers new study claims. Daily Mirror, August 24 2016

Fat cancer threat: obesity found to trigger 8 more types of cancer. The Sun, August 25 2016

Obesity is linked to more cancers. The Times, August 25 2016 (subscription required)