There’s a long list of life challenges and health issues that’s associated with obesity or even being overweight and if that is not enough to get you in shape or stay healthy, here is another reason : the risk of cancer is much higher in an obese person.
Medical researchers have found not just one or two types of cancers that makes obesity a risk factor but more than 10 types of cancer and here are some of them:
1. Breast Cancer
Postmenopausal women who have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) have about a 20% to 40% increased risk of developing breast cancer as compared to normal-weight women.
This risk is seen to be even more present among women who have never used Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) during menopause. Though, men are not spared either. Obesity does increase the risk of breast cancer among men too.
Risk scale: 20% to 40% increased risk
2. Colorectal Cancer
Obese men and women are at a 30% increased risk of colorectal cancer. Though, some studies have also found that the prevalence is higher among men than women.
Nonetheless, obesity does remain a huge risk factor and a 2013 medical review have identified two possible reasons.
The first is due to a type of hormone produced by fat tissues (the colon is surrounded by fat tissues) that’s known as adipokines. This hormone is responsible for cell growth including colorectal cancer cells.
The second reason is insulin resistance which results in an increase in blood sugar levels, an issue that is closely linked to being overweight and obese.
Risk scale: 30% increased risk
3. Esophageal Cancer
The esophagus is a tube made out of muscles that connect your throat to your stomach. A specific type of cancer that affects this part of the body is known as esophageal adenocarcinoma, which develops at an area of the throat that develops mucus and other types of fluid.
As the esophagus is connected to the stomach, it is also exposed stomach acid due to acid reflux, which is another risk of cancer. This is known Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which tend to be experienced more frequently among obese individuals too.
In a nutshell, obesity doubles one’s risk of esophageal cancer and four times for someone who is extremely obese.
Risk scale: Up to 4 times more likely
4. Endometrial Cancer
The risk of this cancer is two-fold among overweight women and it increases to four for a woman who is obese.
However, the risk does not stop there. The National Cancer Institute in the United States of America (USA) states the risk of endometrial cancer increases by seven times if a woman is extremely obese.
Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer at the endometrium which is the lining of the uterus.
The cause of endometrial cancer is mainly linked to the production of estrogen which is produced with excess fat tissues. When paired with insulin resistance, this could turn out to be a deadly duo for overweight women.
Risk scale: 2 to 7 times more likely
5. Kidney Cancer
Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that are located at the bottom half of your torso. They’re responsible for passing your body’s toxins into your urine, which is to be secreted out of your body.
However, just like many other organs, cancer cells can start developing in the kidneys.
A huge risk factor is high blood pressure, which is also a medical condition that’s linked to obesity.
With that being said, individuals who are overweight and obese are almost twice as likely to be at risk of kidney cancer as compared to someone with a healthy weight.
Risk scale: Twice more likely
Meningioma is typically a slow-growing brain tumour that grows in the membranes, surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Medical researchers have not identified a clear reason as to how obesity causes an increase risk in this type of cancer.
Research however, have stated that men and women who are obese has an increased risk of 50% to develop Meningioma and those who are overweight has a risk of 20%.
Risk scale: 50% higher (obese) & 20% higher (overweight)
7. Multiple Myeloma
This is a type of blood cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell known as plasma cell.
Plasma cells are part of your body’s immune system as its main role is to fight infections and germs.
It is believed that fat cells promote the production of inflammation-promoting chemicals that also help the growth of Multiple Myeloma, which consists of cancerous blood cells that accumulated in the bone marrow.
Risk scale: 10% to 20% increase
As much as some of the health conditions associated with obesity (such as diabetes and hypertension) may have medications that could help to reduce or manage the condition.
Cancer too has its long list of medical treatments, thanks to modern-age medicine. However, there is no absolute cure to cancer. So, why increase your risk?
Stay in good shape and if you’re overweight or obese, there’s no need to hide or be shy.