Most people know that carrying extra pounds or having obesity can affect your heart, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Health officials worry, however, that fewer people understand the link between being overweight or having obesity and the risk to developing cancer.
They point to two sobering statistics from a new federal report based on nine years of cancer data:
55 percent of all cancers diagnosed in women are associated with overweight and obesity.
24 percent of cancers diagnosed in men are associated with overweight and obesity.
To date, we know that being overweight raises your risk for 13 types of cancer. These cancers accounted for roughly 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States in 2014.
The 13 cancers include:
- multiple myeloma
- adenocarcinoma of the esophagus
- postmenopausal breast cancer
- gallbladder cancer
- stomach cancer
- liver cancer
- pancreatic cancers
- kidney cancer
- ovarian cancer
- uterine cancer
- colon and rectum (colorectal cancer)
Fortunately, many people can lower their risk for cancer by losing weight.
“As an oncologist, when people ask me if there’s a cure for cancer, I say, ‘Yes, good health is the best prescription for preventing chronic diseases, including cancer,’” said Lisa C. Richardson, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. “What that means to healthcare providers like me is helping people to have the information they need to make healthy choices where they live, work, learn, and play.”
Many people successfully lose weight when they work with health providers who develop a program that’s tailored to their needs. Not everyone can lose weight the same way. Making better food choices and regularly exercising might work for some people while others may benefit more from a medically-supervised weight loss program. In some cases, weight-loss surgery is the most effective way to achieve longterm weight loss.