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How Excess Weight Really Affects Cancer Risk

Cancer is a catch-all term for normal cells that suddenly start dividing and lack the turn-off trigger. This forms a tumor. If the cells break off (metastasize), they can spread cancer to other parts of the body. Cancer is blamed on viruses, radiation, toxins, and dozens of other causes.

Too much body fat contributes to the development of cancer. The more weight you gain as an adult, the greater your risk for the following cancers.


The exact whys are generally unknown, but as you read through the startling list of cancers associated with obesity, you’ll notice a common suspected mechanism.

It’s enough to make you lose weight!

Esophageal And Stomach Cancers
Current research suggests that being overweight increases chronic acid reflux (GERD). The constant irritation may cause Barrett’s esophagus. In this, the normal esophageal tissue is replaced by tissue similar to intestinal lining. This increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer. Both Barrett’s and resulting cancer are fairly rare. If you have acid reflux, talk to your doctor and lose weight to protect yourself.

The causes of stomach cancer appear to be related to insulin and chronic inflammation. For both cancers, people who are overweight in their 20s have up to an 80% increased risk.

Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers because it is extremely hard to detect in time to treat it. The links between obesity and pancreatic cancer are very clear. The pancreas produces insulin and insulin overproduction appears to trigger cell growth within the pancreas.

Being overweight increases insulin levels in the blood and belly fat in particular is linked to pancreatic cancer. Diabetes also increase the odds. There may be a genetic link as well.

Liver Cancer
Liver cancer appears to have a link to obesity. A high BMI, large waistline, and type 2 diabetes are independently very closely associated with liver cancer. Rates have tripled since the 1970s as has obesity in many Americans. Each of the conditions increases risk and combining them appears to be additive.

Developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a common occurrence in obese people, can lead to liver damage. As the cells regenerate themselves, the odds for developing cancerous cells increases. Liver cancer has long been associated with alcoholism or hepatitis infections. The reality suggests that obesity is a far more likely suspect.

Colorectal Cancer
Higher body fat changes hormones, including increasing levels of insulin are associated with colorectal cancer. The higher the insulin levels, the greater the risk of colorectal cancer. In addition, inflammation is associated with both obesity and colorectal cancer.

Other colorectal diseases like ulcerative colitis may be related to cancer risk. A diet high in red meat and fat is associated with colorectal cancer. Eating more fiber and less fat and red meat is very important in maintain a healthy digestive system and weight.

Postmenopausal Breast Cancer
Postmenopausal breast cancer (after women quit menstruating) is appeared to be triggered by increased levels of certain hormones, including insulin and estrogens. In addition, inflammation is associated with both obesity and postmenopausal breast cancer.  Obese postmenopausal women have a 20 to 40% higher risk of developing breast cancer.

Obesity also increases the odds that men will develop breast cancer as well.

Endometrial Cancer
Endometrial tissue is found in the uterus. Excess obesity increases estrogens and depresses progesterone. Endometrial tissue increases cell division and increases the risk of cancerous tumors. Again, the chronic inflammation caused by obesity play into development of endometrial cancer.

Researchers found that obese women are two to four times more likely to develop endometrial cancer. Extremely obese women are seven times more likely to develop endometrial cancer.

Kidney Cancer
Kidney cancer development is correlated with BMI, weight and waist-hip ratios. It appears that increased levels of insulin are linked to kidney cancer.

Hypertension and chronic inflammation are also associated with development of kidney cancer. In addition, thinner people release more of a protein called adiponectin. This protein is associated with a lowered kidney cancer risk.

Gallbladder Cancer
Gallbladder cancer is probably related to both increased insulin and chronic inflammation. In addition, the increased blood sugars, cholesterol and blood pressure are contributing factors.

All these increase the risk of gallstones and these are associated with increased cancer risks.

Mouth, Pharynx, Thyroid, Larynx, Ovarian, and Cervical Cancers, Multiple Myeloma, and Meningioma

The link between mouth, pharynx, thyroid, larynx, stomach, ovarian, and cervical cancers, multiple myeloma and meningioma and obesity is unclear, but it still exists.

Researchers suspect that the combination of insulin and chronic inflammation is responsible.

Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer appears to have a link with obesity. It is not clear, but the link between highly aggressive forms of prostate cancer and obesity is consistently related.

Researchers believe that dysregulated sex steroid metabolism, inflammation, and increased insulin levels contribute to prostate cancer.

Conclusion
Obesity increases insulin and estrogen levels and is associated with chronic inflammation. All these factors have generally strong associations with developing different types of cancer.

There may be a genetic component, but why risk it? Do your best to cut down on belly fat and control insulin levels. You might just save your life.

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