The links between cancer and obesity are growing. A recent study found that alcohol, processed meats and obesity all increase the risk of stomach cancer. This brings the number of cancers linked to obesity up to 11. Alice Bender, head of nutrition at the American Institute for Cancer Research says, “This report is a real wake-up call. We want Americans to know there are steps everyone can take for cancer prevention and better health, like eating more vegetables, beans, fruits and other plant foods, along with squeezing in a few more steps every day.”
Along with stomach cancer, obesity is also linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, thyroid cancer, and pancreatic cancer among others. More than one third of Americans are obese. Another third are overweight, and this statistic is leading to more and more cancer diagnoses. In fact, one study showed that 34,000 new cancer cases in men and 50,500 in women were due to obesity.
The exact reasons that obesity causes certain cancers is not known, but excess body weight may affect cancer risk by affecting the following areas:
- Immune system function and inflammation
- Levels of certain hormones, such as insulin and estrogen
- Factors that regulate cell growth, such as insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)
- Proteins that influence how the body uses certain hormones, such as sex hormone-binding globulin
With evidence continuing to build, now is the time to take control of your weight and reduce your cancer risk! The Woman’s Clinic can help. Our Healthy Me program will get you started. Our dietitian, Brittany is ready to meet with you and work a plan specifically for your goals. Make an appointment today!