Researchers warn of increased risk
Colon, breast, pancreas and ovary cancer are amongst a list of 11 cancers that researchers have warned that those who are overweight are more susceptible to developing.
Conducted by an international team of researchers, the research published in the British Medical Journal reviews over 200 studies and gives strong evidence of a link between excess fat and an increased cancer risk. It reveals that as BMI increases, so too does the cancer risk. For women, the risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer increased by 11%, whilst for men, an increase in BMI see the risk of colorectal cancer rise by 9%.
The research itself does not demonstrate causality in that it does not show directly how excess body weight is linked to the increased risk of cancer, however a number of explanations have previously been proposed. These explanations include the disruption of hormonal and metabolic pathways, as well as excess fat being linked to increased inflammation, higher oestrogen levels and higher insulin levels. All of these have the potential to affect cell division.
By 2035 almost three-quarters of people are expected to be overweight according to figures from leading charities, with 700,000 cases of obesity-related cancer expected in the next 20 years.