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Some Cancers Are a Weighty Issue

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About 40% of cancer cases are related to overweight and obesity, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, called “Vital Signs: Trends in Incidence of Cancers Associated with Overweight and Obesity—United States, 2005–2014,” cites 13 types of cancer that people have a high risk of developing if they have obesity or overweight. The cancers are meningioma, multiple myeloma, adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, and cancers of the thyroid, postmenopausal breast, gallbladder, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, ovaries, uterus, and colon and rectum (colorectal cancer). In 2014, approximately 631,000 people received a diagnosis of one of these cancers. That accounts for 40% of all cancer diagnoses that year. The study authors suggest that people with obesity or excess weight may be at higher risk for cancer because carrying extra weight causes metabolic abnormalities, including higher levels of inflammation, insulin, insulin-like growth factor and sex hormones.

“As an oncologist, when people ask me if there’s a cure for cancer, I say, ‘Yes, good health is the best prescription for preventing chronic diseases, including cancer,’” said Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH, director of the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, in a press release. “What that means to healthcare providers like me is helping people to have the information they need to make healthy choices where they live, work, learn, and play.”

This information was published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2017; 66 [39], 1052–58).

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor, and IDEA's director of event programming.

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