People who are obese are at higher risk for developing cancer, because extra body fat interferes with processes such as hormone cycles and glucose and fat metabolism. Obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30, is increasing in industrialized countries.
New international studies show that 5.4% of all cancers in women and 1.9% of cancers in men are associated with high BMI, in particular esophageal, bowel, kidney, and pancreatic cancers, and in women, gallbladder, ovarian, uterine cancers, and postmenopausal breast cancer.
Research has shown that abdominal fat significantly increases the risk for several reasons. Hormonally active fatty tissue produces adipose tissue hormones and the changes the balance of sex hormones. Insulin resistance is increased, resulting in overproduction of insulin leading to diabetes.
In addition, chronic inflammatory processes can occur in the region of abdominal fat. All these factors can contribute to increased cell division and can support tumor growth.
On a positive note, the researchers point out that these risks can be minimized by weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight from the outset.
Diet and exercise are also helpful measures. These behaviors can help people avoid many types of cancers.
Cancer is more likely to develop in people who are very overweight (obese), because surplus body fat interferes with various hormone cycles and with glucose and fat metabolism.