The first scientific studies that revealed a connection between cancer and obesity have been published a couple of years ago. Since then, more and more studies led to the same conclusion: there is a link between obesity and cancer. It has been proven that overweight can significantly increase the risk of some types of cancer and influence the way in which they develop.
Lately, it has been discovered that obesity can be even more dangerous than smoking when it comes to cancer. The risk of developing cancer increases more as the overweight is accompanied by a lack of physical activity and an unhealthy diet. Moreover, the chances of survival after being diagnosed with cancer are low for those who are obese.
According to statistics, 1 out of 3 cancer deaths is influenced by obesity, especially when obesity is the result of physical inactivity and poor nutrition.
What types of cancer are triggered by obesity?
The variety of types of cancer that are linked to obesity is large and includes some of the most common types, but also some of the hardest to treat.
Cancer types that are strongly connected to obesity
- Breast cancer (post-menopause)
- Esophageal cancer
- Colon cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Endometrium cancer
Regarding these types of cancer, the link between them and obesity is crystal clear. These results are worrying because they include some of the most common types of cancer – breast and colon cancer. Moreover, pancreatic and esophageal cancer are among the types of cancer that are the hardest to treat, with very low survival rate.
There is also evidence showing that obesity is tied to cancer of the liver, cervix, gallbladder, thyroid, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and ovaries.
Furthermore, prostate cancer may be more aggressive in the case of obese men.
How can obesity increase the risk of cancer?
For some of us, it may be obvious that obesity is a condition that can affect the overall health, but it may be hard to understand the way in which it promotes the risk of cancer.
Well, cancer is triggered by many factors, such as the improper functioning of certain mechanisms. Several specific mechanisms of your body are vital for avoiding certain cancer types. If they are affected by the excess of body fat, the risk of cancer increases.
Obesity can influence the way in which your immune system functions and it can trigger inflammations.
Fat deposits also affect the level of some hormones, such as estrogen and insulin. Not to mention that obese persons usually have insulin resistance, which means that their pancreas needs to produce a lot more insulin for maintaining a normal level of glucose in the bloodstream.
Last, but not least, an excess of body fat can also affect some proteins that have a very important role in the way in which the human body uses hormones or in which the cells work. Thus, when the hormones or cells don’t work properly, cancer becomes a real danger.