Cancer Risk and Obesity

Cancer Risk and ObesityThere are certain well-known risks associated with obesity. The risk of developing heart disease or type-2 diabetes as a result of carrying excess weight is largely understood, as is the risk of developing joint injury or arthritis. If these issues begin to develop it is often possible to reverse the onset of the problem by losing weight, and weight loss surgery can help.

However, these well-known health concerns are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the risks associated with obesity. Many don’t realize that there is a legitimate risk of developing certain types of cancer as a result of carrying around too much excess weight, and once the cancer develops, getting treatment for it stretches far beyond having to lose weight.

The Cancer / Obesity Connection

There are a lot of types of cancer out there, and for each type the exact process of how and why it develops is still somewhat of a mystery. However, over the past two decades a massive amount of research has been done into the causes and potential treatments for cancers, and that has left cancer experts with a great deal of insight into how and why the disease forms.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, it is possible that about 20 percent of all cancer diagnosed in the United States develops at least partially due to a combination of increased body fat, lack of physical activity, poor nutrition and an excess of alcohol consumption.

Specifically, the following types of cancer are associated with obesity:

  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Cancer of the uterus
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Cancer of the pancreas

It is also believed that obesity increases the risk of developing the following types of cancer, though the association isn’t as proven as those listed above. These include:

  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Liver cancer
  • Cervix cancer
  • Cancer of the ovaries
  • Prostate cancer

Obesity is not the only risk factor for any of the above listed cancers. Factors like having a family history of cancer, tobacco use and other environmental factors also play a role in determining your risk of developing the disease. But one thing is for certain, being obese makes your chances of developing any of these forms of cancer significantly higher.

Losing weight will not reverse the onset of cancer, like it often will the onset of heart disease or diabetes. However, if you are obese, losing weight now can help reduce your risk of developing cancer in the future. Weight loss surgery can help you lose weight and reduce your risk of developing many of the health complications that are associated with obesity. Contact your weight loss surgeon to learn more.