Obesity set to become the biggest preventable cause of cancer for females

Cancer Research UK |September 2018| When could overweight and obesity overtake smoking as the biggest cause of cancer in the UK?  

Cancer Research UK report that overweight and obesity are on track to overtake smoking as the biggest preventable cause of cancer in UK women in around a quarter of a century, if current trends continue as projected. 

 

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Image source: cancerresearchuk.org

The study is the first attempt to quantify and compare the future smoking- and overweight and obesity attributable cancer burdens.  Cancer Research UK projects that smoking and overweight and obesity could cause 20,000 more cancer cases by 2035 than the 75000 cases in 2015.  In seventeen years’ time  one-tenth of cancers in women (around 25,000 cases) could be caused by smoking and just less than one-tenth (around 23,000 cases)  attributed to excess weight.

 

 

 

Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert, said:

“Obesity is a huge public health threat right now, and it will only get worse if nothing is done. The UK Government must build on the lessons of smoking prevention to reduce the number of weight-related cancers by making it easier to keep a healthy weight and protect children, as those who are overweight are five times more likely to be so as an adult.

The report has been released to coincide with the launch of the charity’s UK-wide campaign to increase awareness that obesity is a cause of cancer (Source: Cancer Research UK).

Cancer Research UK [Press release] Obesity could overtake smoking as biggest preventable cause of cancer in women

Cancer Research UK  [Report] When could overweight and obesity overtake smoking as the biggest cause of cancer in the UK?   

See also: OnMedica Obesity as cause of cancer set to overtake smoking

Where body fat is carried can predict cancer risk

Study finds men with over 40in waist and women with over 35in waist are more at risk of cancer as waist size is as good at predicting cancer risk as BMI | via Cancer Research UK 

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Scientists have found that carrying fat around your middle could be as good an indicator of cancer risk as body mass index (BMI), according to research published in the British Journal of Cancer . 

The study combined data from around 43,000 participants who had been followed for an average of 12 years and more than 1,600 people were diagnosed with an obesity-related cancer.

The study found that adding about 11cm to the waistline increased the risk of obesity related cancers by 13 per cent. For bowel cancer, adding around 8 cm to the hips is linked to an increased risk of 15 per cent.

Being overweight or obese is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking and is linked to 13 types of cancer including bowel, breast, and pancreas.

Full reference: Freisling et al. Comparison of general obesity and measures of body fat distribution in older adults in relation to cancer risk: meta-analysis of individual participant data of seven prospective cohorts in Europe. British Journal of Cancer. (2017) 116, 1486–1497

Read more at Cancer Research UK

Obesity linked to heightened risk of certain cancers

Obesity is strongly linked to the risk of developing certain major cancers, according to a re-analysis of research published in The BMJ | OnMedica | BMJ

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Links between obesity and cancer risk are strongest for 11 cancers related to digestive organs and hormones, says the review. Obesity could also be linked to other cancers, but the quality of the evidence is not sufficiently strong to draw those conclusions yet.

Obesity prevalence has more than doubled over the past 40 years, and the evidence to date suggests that it is linked to a heightened risk of developing particular cancers, but methodological flaws in some published studies have weakened the strength of the associations found.

To better gauge the quality of the evidence and the strength of these associations, the researchers comprehensively reviewed published studies looking at obesity and cancer risk.

From among 204 reviews that analysed obesity measurements, such as body mass index (BMI), weight gain, and waist circumference, and the risk of 36 cancers, 95 included continuous measures of obesity.

Only 13% of the associations for nine cancers were based on strong evidence, meaning the results were statistically significant and excluded bias.

Strong associations were found in studies that looked at heightened risk of oesophageal, bone marrow, colon (in men), rectal (in men), biliary tract system, pancreatic, endometrial (in premenopausal women), and kidney cancers.

Read more via OnMedica

Link to the research: Kyrgiou M, Kalliala I, Markozannes G, et al. Adiposity and cancer at major anatomical sites: umbrella review of the literature. BMJ 2017;356:j477. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.j477

How obesity contributes to, blocks treatment of pancreatic cancer

ScienceDaily. Published online: 6 July 2016

https://www.flickr.com/photos/126429277@N05/15408258640
Image source: Ryan Johnson – Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators have discovered the mechanism by which obesity increases inflammation and desmoplasia — an accumulation of connective tissue — in the most common form of pancreatic cancer.

In their report published online in Cancer Discovery the researchers describe how interactions among fat cells, immune cells and connective tissue cells in obese individuals stimulate a microenvironment that promotes tumor progression while blocking the response to chemotherapy. They also identify a treatment strategy that may inhibit the process.

Read the full report here

Read the original research abstract here

Short and sweet: Why the government should introduce a sugary drinks tax

Sugar tax could prevent 3.7 million cases of obesity over next decade

A 20% tax on sugary drinks in the UK would prevent 3.7 million people becoming obese over the next decade, a report predicts. Cancer Research UK and the UK Health Forum worked out the likely impact of the tax on eating habits.  Their report said such a tax would also save the NHS £10m a year by 2025.

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image source: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/

Full report: Short and Sweet: Why the government should introduce a sugary drinks tax

BBC report: Sugary drinks tax ‘would stop millions becoming obese’

Severe obesity prior to diagnosis limits survival in colorectal cancer patients evaluated at a large cancer centre

Daniel, C.R. et al. British Journal of Cancer (2016) 114, 103–109

Background: In contrast to the consistent evidence for obesity and colorectal cancer (CRC) risk, the impact of obesity in CRC patients is less clear. In a well-characterised cohort of CRC patients, we prospectively evaluated class I and class II obesity with survival outcomes.

Methods: The CRC patients (N=634) were followed from the date of diagnosis until disease progression/first recurrence (progression-free survival (PFS)) or death (overall survival (OS)). Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from reported usual weight prior to diagnosis. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated in models adjusted for clinicopathologic, treatment, and lifestyle factors.

Results: Over a median follow-up of 4 years, 208 (33%) patients died and 235 (37%) recurred or progressed. Class II obesity, as compared with either overweight or normal weight, was associated with an increased risk of death (HR and 95% CI: 1.55 (0.97–2.48) and 1.65 (1.02–2.68), respectively), but no clear association was observed with PFS. In analyses restricted to patients who presented as stages I–III, who reported stable weight, or who were aged <50 years, obesity was associated with a significant two- to five-fold increased risk of death.

Conclusions: In CRC patients evaluated at a large cancer centre, severely obese patients experienced worse survival outcomes independent of many other factors.

View the full article via British Journal of Cancer

Economic costs of obesity

The UK Health Forum and Cancer Research UK have published Tipping the scales: why preventing obesity makes economic sense.  The report found that rising rates of obesity and overweight could lead to 700,000 new cancer cases in the UK, as well as millions of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke. This would cost the NHS an additional £2.5 billion a year by 2035 over and above what is already spent on obesity related disease.  The report calls on the Government to introduce a 20p per litre tax on sugary drinks as well as a 9pm watershed ban on TV advertising of junk food as part of a comprehensive children’s obesity strategy.

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image source: http://nhfshare.heartforum.org.uk/

Additional links: Cancer Research UK press release    BBC News report