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Excess body weight causes over 124,000 new cancers a year in Europe
Date:9/24/2009

Berlin, Germany: At least 124,000 new cancers in 2008 in Europe may have been caused by excess body weight, according to estimates from a new modelling study. The proportion of cases of new cancers attributable to a body mass index of 25kg/m2 or more were highest among women and in central European countries such as the Czech Republic, Latvia, Slovenia and Bulgaria.

The lead author of the study [1], Dr Andrew Renehan, told Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 ESMO 34 [2], in Berlin today (Thursday 24 September): "As more people stop smoking and fewer women take hormone replacement therapy, it is possible that obesity may become the biggest attributable cause of cancer in women within the next decade."

Dr Renehan, who is a senior lecturer in cancer studies and surgery at the University of Manchester (UK), and his colleagues in the UK, The Netherlands and Switzerland, created a sophisticated model to estimate the proportion of cancers that could be attributed to excess body weight in 30 European countries. Using data from a number of sources including the World Health Organisation and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, they estimated that in 2002 (the most recent year for which there are reliable statistics on cancer incidence in Europe) there had been over 70,000 new cases of cancer attributable to excess BMI out of a total of nearly 2.2 million new diagnoses across the 30 European countries.

The percentage of obesity-related cancers varied widely between countries, from 2.1% in women and 2.4% in men in Denmark, to 8.2% in women and 3.5% in men in the Czech Republic. In Germany it was 4.8% in women and 3.3% in men, and in the UK it was 4% in women and 3.4% in men.

Then, the researchers projected the figures forward to 2008, taking into account what was known about shifts in the distribution of BMI, the dramatic decline in women's use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) from 2002 onwards following researc
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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