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Obese Colon Cancer Survivors Face Poorer Prognosis
Date:3/9/2010

Study found chances of recurrence, death higher than among normal-weight patients

TUESDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- Colon cancer survivors who are moderately or severely obese face tougher survival odds following treatment compared with their normal-weight peers, a new study reveals.

The finding builds on prior research that established that being obese raises the risk for developing colon cancer in the first place.

"Previous studies have shown that obesity does influence the risk of developing colon cancer, but this study takes it one step further," said study author Dr. Frank A. Sinicrope, a professor of medicine and oncology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "Because now we know that if you're obese, you have a higher risk of cancer recurrence or death for patients who have established colon cancer."

Sinicrope and his colleagues, whose work was funded in part by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, report their findings in the March 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

The American Cancer Society estimates that last year more than 106,000 Americans were newly diagnosed with colon cancer, while nearly 50,000 men and women died from the disease.

To explore a potential connection between obesity and colon cancer survival, the authors analyzed data concerning 4,381 men and women who had been diagnosed with either stage II or stage III colon cancer. All of the patients had undergone both surgical removal of their cancer and subsequent chemotherapy.

Based on body mass index (BMI), which is a measurement that takes into account weight and height, the researchers determined that approximately 20 percent of the patients were obese (above 30 on the BMI chart). Among that group, about seven in 10 patients were classified as "moderately obese" (BMI between 30 and 34.9), while slightly more than one-quarter were "very obese" (BMI of 35 and up).

About 37 percent of the pa
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