Half Of All Cancer Cases Are Linked To Obesity

According to a study presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Venice, sponsored by Lund University in Malmo, Sweden, half of all cancer cases are linked to obesity.

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Obesity is associated with over half of cancer incidences, according to recent studies.

Over 30 different varieties of the disease may be fueled by excess weight, according to a study that followed over four million persons over decades.

The results, which will be presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Venice, were hailed by experts as “groundbreaking” and as foreshadowing a time bomb.

Ministers were encouraged by health groups to respond to this “wake-up call,” as obesity is already predicted to cost the nation £19 billion in NHS expenditures annually, or about £100 billion.

The government is taking “strong action” to combat obesity, according to Health Secretary Victoria Atkins, with a push to use technology and apps to change people’s habits anticipated this summer.

“I want us all to be able to lead longer, healthier lives,” she said.

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The study, sponsored by Lund University in Malmo, Sweden, included 4.1 million people who were closely studied for roughly 40 years, with a focus on their weight and lifestyle.

Over time, 332,500 cancers were discovered. In 40% of cases, there appeared to be a relationship between being overweight and developing cancer.

In the UK, there are an average of 390,000 cancer diagnoses each year, with approximately 150,000 of these potentially connected to obesity.

Researchers identified 32 different forms of cancer that are linked to fat.

Previously, an international study has revealed 13 forms of cancer associated with being overweight or obese, including bowel, breast, womb, and kidney. According to the latest study, a five-point increase in Body Mass Index (BMI) increased the incidence of such tumors by 24% for men and 12% for women.

The same rise – enough to push someone from the healthy weight threshold to the edge of obesity – was connected to 19 additional malignancies, raising the risk by 17% for men and 13% for women. These cancers include malignant melanoma, gastric tumors, small intestine, and pituitary gland cancers, as well as various types of head and neck cancer, and vulval and penis cancers.

Researchers analyzed 122 types and subtypes of cancer in a study that followed patients for 100 million years.

“The findings of this study have important public health implications. Established obesity-related cancers accounted for 25 percent of all cancer cases in this study, and the proportion increased to 40 percent when potential obesity-related cancers were added. Therefore, a substantial proportion of cancers could potentially be prevented by keeping a normal weight,” researchers said.

Since the 1990s, the percentage of adults in England who are obese has nearly doubled to 26%, while 38% of adults are overweight.

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Smoking used to be the primary cause of one in five cancer cases, but obesity has now surpassed smoking as the cause of four major malignancies.

According to Cancer Research UK forecasts, if 10% of the overweight and obese people in England move down one BMI group by 2030, around 8,000 cancer cases might be prevented by 2040.

The European Association for the Study of Obesity’s (EASO) president, Prof. Jason Halford, stated: “This is a really strong, large-scale analysis. As always, more research is needed but it reveals what many studying the links between cancer and obesity have suspected; that obesity is likely to be a risk factor for many more types of cancer than we had evidence for before.”

Prof. Halford, who is the head of the University of Leeds School of Psychology, charged that governments have not done enough to prevent obesity while providing few choices for treatment.

“If this does not cause concern for health policy makers it is difficult to see what will,” he said.

Adding to the discourse on cancer risks, a study published last year by the Multi-disciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) suggests a potential connection between COVID-19 vaccines and cancer growth, as reported by GreatGameIndia.

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The Health Secretary is anticipated to present government initiatives to support individuals in changing unhealthy lifestyles during the summer, emphasizing the use of apps and new technologies to track steps taken and have greater control over one’s health.

Additionally, the NHS is testing programs to increase the use of weight-loss injections like Wegovy, which shares a pharmaceutical formula with Ozempic, a medication used to treat Type 2 diabetes.

Ms Atkins said: “I want us all to be able to lead longer, healthier lives. That starts with preventing illness through healthy lifestyle choices, like eating well, exercising regularly, and not smoking.

“We are already introducing world-leading legislation to protect future generations from the harmful effects of smoking to reduce illnesses like cancer, and we’re taking strong action to tackle obesity too.

“By investing in tech like the NHS Couch to 5k app, we are helping families all over the country get fit and active, and I am excited about the new treatments and technologies that can help people achieve – and maintain – a healthy weight.”

Director of the Obesity Health Alliance, a confederation of fifty health charities and organizations, Katharine Jenner stated: “The results are clear – if we can prevent obesity, we can prevent many types of diet-related cancers.

Dr. Ming Sun, the lead researcher from Lund University, stated: “Our findings suggest that the impact of obesity on cancer might be greater than previously known, in that it is a risk factor for more cancers, especially of rarer kind. Some of these have rarely or never before been investigated in relation to obesity.”

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He said that more research was necessary to confirm the results and look into the underlying biological causes.
However, Dr. Sun stated that to “address the obesity epidemic and its already known detrimental effect on health outcomes,” public health initiatives to change lifestyles were crucial. Dr. Jennifer L. Baker, co-chair of the EASO working group on childhood obesity, stated that excess weight could make screening programs less successful and that biological mechanisms such as chronic inflammation, and changes in hormone levels and metabolism, may account for the increased obesity risk.

Dr Baker said: “In this groundbreaking study, using an extremely large population of Swedish adults, researchers show that obesity is associated with 19 new cancer forms, some of which are surprising, in addition to the 13 that have already been identified.”

“These new results show we are likely facing a significant increase in cancer cases,” she said.

Malcolm Clark, senior policy manager for prevention at Cancer Research UK, stated: “There are lots of things people can do to lower their risk of cancer, and keeping a healthy weight is one way to reduce it. Other steps include not smoking, being safe in the sun, eating a healthy balanced diet, and cutting down on alcohol.”

A ban on junk food advertisements on TV and the internet has been promised by ministers time and time again, but the implementation date has been put out to October 2025.

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