We’ve always known that being fat could dramatically increase incidences of breast, uterus, colon, rectum, kidney, cervical, and prostate cancers. Now there’s a major new study and a huge body of evidence that not only confirms this, but says, “the overall link is stronger in women than in men”.
ABC News & The New England Journal of Medicine report that:
Losing weight could prevent one of every six cancer deaths in the United States more than 90,000 each year, according to a sweeping study that experts say links fat and cancer more convincingly than ever before.
Researchers spent 16 years evaluating 900,000 people who were cancer-free when the study began in 1982. They concluded that excess weight may account for 14 percent of all cancer deaths in men and 20 percent of those in women.
The study was big enough to back up a fat connection not only in cancers where it has been known for some time, but in eight where it hadn’t been widely documented, lead researcher Eugenia Calle said.
Calle, whose study is in Today’s New England Journal of Medicine, said she was surprised the link “really was the rule more than the exception.” A commentary said the study is 10 times greater than the largest previous research on the topic. Top researchers in both cancer and obesity said the research virtually proves they are linked.
“Because of the magnitude and strength of the study, it’s irrefutable,” said Dr. Donna Ryan, head of clinical research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. “It’s absolutely convincing. And therefore it’s frightening.”
Dr. Robert Mayer of Harvard Medical School and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston said it’s not certain whether one in five, six or seven cancers might be prevented or better treated if people lost weight.
“What’s clear is that large studies of this sort and this is the biggest and best to date show very clearly this is a major health problem in this country,” said Mayer, speaking for the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
The study by American Cancer Society relied on the body mass index using heights and weights reported by study participants. For instance, a 5-foot-11 person who weighs 175 pounds would have a BMI of 24.4, near the top of the normal range. A 5-foot-3, 175-pounder would be obese, with a BMI of 31.