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Obesity Raises Cancer Risk
Date:2/15/2008

University Hospitals and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cleveland. "If someone is obese, then lower the threshold for screening," he said. "One of the cancers they identified is esophageal adenocarcinoma, which is not as common as colon cancer, but it is increasing in incidence. It is thought to be related to reflux, so as a gastroenterologist, if I have a patient who has reflux and is obese, I might lower the threshold for doing an endoscopy. For other cancers like colon cancer, those guidelines are pretty well-established, and this probably wouldn't change practice."

Experts aren't sure why extra fat can lead to malignancies, but changes in the circulating levels of various hormones (insulin, insulin-like growth factors and sex steroids) might explain the link.

Here's more bad news as the world heads for a smoke-free future: An accompanying commentary from Swedish researchers notes that as people quit smoking (the biggest cause of cancer in developed countries), weight gain may become the main lifestyle factor contributing to new cancers.

More information

Visit the American Cancer Society for more on the different types of cancer.



SOURCES: Michael J. Thun, M.D., head, epidemiological research, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; Greg Cooper, M.D., professor, medicine, and interim chief, gastroenterology division, Ireland Cancer Center of University Hospitals and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cleveland; Feb. 16, 2008, The Lancet


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