CDC: Obesity linked to increased risk for cancer

The rate of new cancer cases has decreased overall since the 1990s, but increases in overweight and obesity-related cancers are slowing this progress.
By Amy Wallace  |  Oct. 4, 2017 at 12:24 PM
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Oct. 4 (UPI) -- While the rate of new cancer cases has decreased overall since the 1990s, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report this week that increases in overweight and obesity-related cancers are slowing this progress.

The CDC reports in a new study that being overweight or obese is associated with an increased risk of 13 types of cancer.

The cancers linked to obesity by the CDC include esophageal cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, endometrium, gallbladder, gastric cardia, kidney, liver, ovarian, pancreatic, thyroid cancer and multiple myeloma.

"A majority of American adults weigh more than recommended -- and being overweight or obese puts people at higher risk for a number of cancers -- so these findings are a cause for concern," CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald said in a press release.

Having analyzed data from the United States Cancer Statistics report for 2014, CDC researchers found that, in 2014, about 631,000 people were diagnosed with an obesity- or overweight-related cancer.

These obesity-related cancers account for 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed. Overall, the researchers say 55 percent of cancers in women and 24 percent in men are associated with obesity.

Overweight and obesity-related cancer incidence rates were higher among adults age 50 and older, higher among females, and higher among non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white adults compared to other groups.

The study found that between 2005 and 2014, incidence rates of cancer, excluding colorectal cancer, increased significantly in adults age 20-74, decreased for adults age 75 and older, increased in 32 states and remained the same in 16 states and Washington, D.C.

More than half of Americans that are overweight or obese are at an increased risk of cancer. Quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight, among other health conscious decisions, are among important factors in reducing a person's risk for developing cancer.

"The burden of overweight- and obesity-related cancers might be reduced through efforts to prevent and control overweight and obesity," researchers wrote in the study, adding that "comprehensive cancer control strategies, including use of evidence-based interventions to promote healthy weight, could help decrease the incidence of these cancers in the United States."

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