Increased weight gain in middle aged-women may raise cancer risks.
A preliminary study by Marisa da Silva and colleagues at the Arctic University of Norway in Tromso collected data on women who took part in the Norwegian Women and Cancer study from 1991 to 2011.
The researchers looked specifically for the risk of obesity-related cancers, including certain myelomas and cancers of the breast, colon, endometrium (lining of the uterus), ovaries, pancreas, kidneys, gallbladder, stomach, liver, esophagus, brain and thyroid.
“It is widely known that obesity increases your risk of medical conditions such as hypertension, sleep apnea and diabetes,” said Heather McMullen, who directs bariatric surgery at Northwell Health’s Syosset Hospital in New York.
“This article highlights that obesity, as well as significant weight gain in women, increases risk of certain cancers,” she said.
Although the study couldn’t prove a direct link, obesity was tied to a rise in the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer by 20 percent and kidney cancer by 95 percent.
Mitchell Roslin, chief of obesity surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, noted that increases in an older woman’s weight can trigger a rise in estrogen and other hormones that, in turn, have been linked to higher odds for endometrial and breast cancer.
The elevated blood sugar levels that accompany obesity might also have ties to cancer risk,
“We need to begin to understand that what we eat can be a powerful medicine or alternatively a promoter of disease,” Roslin said.
“While the impact of obesity on diabetes and heart disease gets attention, the impact of obesity on cancer is not discussed as frequently.”
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