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Obesity Linked to Increased Cancer Risk
Date:10/31/2007

ers of the esophagus, pancreas, colon and rectum, endometrium, kidney as well as breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

The risk from excess weight begins at birth, according to the report. The reason for the link between birth weight and breast cancer has to do with body fat. Excess body fat influences the body's hormones, and these changes can make it more likely for cells to undergo the kind of abnormal growth that leads to cancer, the researchers said.

In addition, overweight girls can start menstruating at an earlier age. So, over their lifetime, they will have more menstrual cycles. This extended exposure to estrogen is associated with increased risk for premenopausal breast cancer, the report found.

Not smoking is the most important thing one can do to reduce the risk of cancer, Doyle said. But, she added, "there are estimates that obesity will overtake smoking as the leading preventable cause of death.

"It's great to see another report that emphasizes being active, watching your weight and eating a healthy diet are not only going to help you reduce your risk of cancer but heart disease and diabetes as well," Doyle said.

The report also found that breast-feeding can lower a mother's risk for developing breast cancer. In addition, breast-fed infants have a lower risk of becoming overweight or obese and this means a lower risk of developing cancer.

"The evidence is uniformly strong on breast-feeding, and the fact that it offers cancer protection to both mothers and their children is why we made breast-feeding one of our 10 Recommendations to Prevent Cancer," Willett said.

In addition, tall people seem to have a higher risk of colorectal and postmenopausal breast cancer, according to the report.

"We found that tallness is also probably linked to increased risk for ovarian, pancreatic and premenopausal cancer as well," Willett said. Although the association between height and cancer
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