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Obesity Raises Cancer Risk
Date:2/15/2008

me questions unanswered. For instance, are there associations between less common cancers and body weight, and do the associations differ between the sexes and people of different ethnic backgrounds?

The issue is a pressing one, with about two-thirds of adult men and women in the United States overweight or obese. That number is only expected to increase as people continue to eat more and exercise less.

This study, from scientists at the University of Manchester, analyzed 141 articles involving 282,137 cancer cases and 20 different types of malignancies to determine the cancer risk associated with a 5 kilogram-per-meter-squared increase in BMI, roughly the increase that would bump a person from middle-normal weight into overweight.

In men, such an increase in BMI raised the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma by 52 percent, thyroid cancer by 33 percent, and colon and kidney cancer by 24 percent each.

In women, the same increase in BMI increased the risk of endometrial and gallbladder cancer by 59 percent each, esophageal adenocarcinoma by 51 percent, and kidney cancer by 34 percent.

In men, there were weaker associations between increased BMI and rectal cancer and melanoma. In women, there were weaker associations between increased BMI and postmenopausal breast, pancreatic, thyroid and colon cancers.

In both genders, there were associations between increased BMI and leukemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

For colon cancer, the associations were stronger in men than in women (24 percent vs. 9 percent).

There were stronger associations in Asia-Pacific populations between greater BMI and both premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancers.

Although the main message is still to maintain a healthy weight, this research might indicate earlier screening for certain cancers, said Dr. Greg Cooper, interim chief of the gastroenterology division at Ireland Cancer Center of
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