Obesity Campaign Poster

Obesity Campaign Poster (Photo credit: Pressbound)

Obesity is a condition that affects more than 60 percent of people in the United States. An obese person has an unhealthy amount of body fat as determined by health professionals. Genetics, eating disorders, medication, unhealthy dieting and stress can cause a person to become obese. Once that individual reaches an obese state, he or she is at risk for other diseases. Medical experts have long reported that obesity is linked to health problems such as gallstones, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Recently medical experts have added cancer to the list of dangerous conditions linked to obesity.

Scientists from all over the world have conducted studies of people with cancer to come to this conclusion. In one study of over 250,000 patients, a small increase in body mass increased the risks of several types of cancer over 50 percent. The studies reviewed over 20 types of cancer. Obesity was a factor in several cases of the disease. Some of the most common areas where cancer has fallen upon obese individuals are the esophagus, pancreas, colon, rectum, breast, endometrium, kidney, thyroid and gallbladder. Specialists expect the trend to continue over the next 20 years.

Why Obesity Contributes to Cancer

Obesity plays a factor in various types of cancer for various reasons. In breast cancer, the risk may come from an increase of estrogen in postmenopausal women. The more fat tissue a woman has, the more estrogen her body can produce. This puts obese women at risk because it can cause the rapid growth and development of estrogen-responsive breast tumors.

The same may be true for obesity’s role in endometrial cancer. Obese women are four times more likely to develop cancer of the endomentrium than women who are not obese. This may be due to the increased amount of estrogen in their bodies.

Colon cancer often develops in obese men. However, women also develop this condition. Professionals have guessed that this may have something to do with insulin development. High levels of insulin may contribute to colon cancer and its rapid progress. High levels of insulin may also play a role in the connection of obesity and kidney cancer.

Cancer of the esophagus is common in obese patients. Some doctors attribute this to the frequent esophageal inflammations that occur with obese patients. Many people who are overweight experience gastroesophageal reflux disease, which increases their risk for cancer.

Decreasing the Risk of Cancer

Specialists have not been able to gather enough evidence to prove that losing weight decreases the risks of cancer. Doctors have reported some minimal breast cancer risk reductions in women who have lost weight, but the data was not enough to form an absolute answer. However, medical experts have found that losing weight decreases people’s risks for other illnesses. Additionally, proper dieting increases overall health and boosts the immune system. Therefore, it is safe to say that one could decrease his or her chances of developing cancer by performing activities and incorporating routines that promote weight loss.

This guest article was contributed by Joleen Krupa who frequently writes about heath career education like Radiation Therapy Schools.

You can email Joleen Krupa at joleenwkrupa@gmail.com