Obesity is a reversible condition. Awareness is key.
Our rates of obesity are significantly lower compared to our American neighbors however, according to Stats Canada 2015, obesity is on the rise in Quebec. One out of two adults are now considered overweight and the rate of obesity grew by 3% over the past few years. Furthermore, an alarming number of people have no idea they are overweight or obese.
Most of us know that obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. However, studies also show that compared to individuals who have a normal weight, those who are overweight or are obese have an increased risk for several types of cancer. The evidence is pretty consistent, study after study demonstrates that higher amounts of body fat are associated with higher rates of cancer.
• Overweight and obese women are three times more likely to develop endometrial cancer.
• Obese people are two times more likely to develop gastric cancer.
• Overweight and obese people are about twice as likely to develop liver cancer. The association between higher amounts of body fat and liver cancer is even stronger in men.
• Overweight or obese people are twice as likely to get kidney cancer and this association is independent of high blood pressure, which is also a known risk factor for kidney cancer.
• People who are overweight are 1.5 times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.
• Obese people are 30% more likely to get colorectal cancer.
• People who are overweight have a 20% increased chance of developing gall bladder cancer and people who are obese have a 60% risk of developing gall bladder cancer.
• Obese postmenopausal women have a 30% higher risk of developing breast cancer.
It is thought that many obese people have mild levels of chronic inflammation within them. This persistent low-level inflammation eventually causes DNA damage, which triggers cancer. This is perhaps why many chronic inflammatory conditions are associated with cancer in the same area. For example inflammation of the gallbladder is a strong risk factor for cancer of the gallbladder.
When it comes to cancer in women, it is known that fat contains higher amounts of estrogen. It is believed the presence of such high amounts of estrogen in obese women triggers estrogen sensitive cancers like cancer of the breast, endometrium and ovaries.
Overall, those who are obese have a 34% increased risk for developing some form of cancer in their lifetime. Obesity is a reversible condition. Awareness is key.
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