A massive new study’s results were recently made public and it goes to confirm yet again that obesity and cancer are tightly linked. The research involved more than 5 million adults living in the United Kingdom with a high body mass index. It was revealed that having a high BMI will increase the risk of developing 10 of the most common cancers: ovarian and breast cancers after menopause, kidney, cervix, leukemia, thyroid, liver, colon, uterus and gallbladder.
The massive study was performed by scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Farr Institute of Health Informatics. The researchers have found that overweight and obese patients develop more than 12,000 cases of the 10 cancers mentioned earlier each year. This new study is the largest of its kind in the world and it has been published in the journal The Lancet.
Dr. Krishnan Bhaskaran, the study leader, said in a statement:
The number of people who are overweight or obese is rapidly increasing both in the UK and worldwide. It is well recognized that this is likely to cause more diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Our results show that if these trends continue, we can also expect to see substantially more cancers as a result.
The Body Mass Index, also known as BMI, is calculated using the person’s height and weight. Other variables, such as age, are taken into consideration when calculating it. The results will determine if a person is at a healthy weight, or if they are underweight, overweight, obese or morbidly obese.
The study, founded by the National Institute for Health Research, Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council used data from general practitioners records. The researchers looked at the most common 22 types of cancers, and the risk was measured according to the BMI, after including variables, such as: age, smoking, sex and alcohol use. 166,955 people developed one of the 22 cancers in question and BMI was associated with 17 of them.
Each 5kg/m2 increase in the BMI was linked with a higher risk of uterus cancer (62%), gallbladder (31%), kidney (25%), cervix (10%) and thyroid (9%). A higher BMI increased the overall risk of liver cancer by 19%, colon cancer by (10%) and ovarian cancer by (9%).
Dr Bhaskaran revealed:
There was a lot of variation in the effects of BMI on different cancers. For example, risk of cancer of the uterus increased substantially at higher body mass index; for other cancers, we saw more modest increases in risk, or no effect at all. For some cancers like breast cancer occurring in younger women before the menopause, there even seemed to be a lower risk at higher BMI. This variation tells us that BMI must affect cancer risk through a number of different processes, depending on the cancer type.
What are your thoughts on these findings? Are you overweight or obese?