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Published on December 05, 2012

The Link Between Obesity And Cancer

Many people will tell you that there is an epidemic of obesity in America, and that it is a growing national health concern because obesity causes or exacerbates so many other diseases and conditions.

Cancer, for instance.

Researchers have noted on numerous occasions that obese people tend to be at an increased risk for cancer, especially esophageal, pancreatic, colorectal, breast, uterine, kidney, thyroid and gallbladder cancers.

In a study recently done in Texas, researchers found that tumors grow much faster in obese mice as compared to lean mice. Their research showed that “white adipose tissue,” which is present in obese people, directly promotes the progression of cancer. In other words, being obese feeds the tumors.

An older study showed that, in 2007 almost 85,000 new cases of cancer in America were directly due to obesity. The National Cancer Institute projects that by 2030, obesity will be responsible for 500,000 additional cases of cancer. The same analysis projected that if every American adult dropped 2.2 pounds, the result would be the avoidance of 100,000 new cases of cancer.

So it’s obvious – cancer prevention starts with a healthy diet filled with vegetables, fruits and grains and limited red meat, alcohol and processed foods. Cigarette smoking causes cancer, virtually everyone knows it, and therefore smoking is very much out of fashion and people’s lungs are healthier.  Eating a diet filled with “dangerous foods” should have the same stigma.

And exercise also needs to be part of the equation.

Everybody’s life is busy and as you get older and your job becomes more demanding and the kids need to be driven to and fro, it’s easy to eat fast food and quit the gym; it seems like those aren’t as important with everything else on your plate. But you’re not going to be able to do all thoe other things if you’re obese AND fighting cancer.

Fighting cancer is hell. For most patients, it takes every ounce of strength to win the battle. If you’re obese, that’s like starting the game trailing by two touchdowns; you might be able to catch up, but you’re making it much harder on yourself.

For more information about Crozer-Keystone Health System Cancer Services, visit http://ckcancer.crozerkeystone.org. You can also call 1-866-695-HOPE (4673) to request an appointment with a physician who cares for cancer patients.

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