You thought that being overweight was a risky proposition only if you have cardiac issues, suffer from some form of arthritis, or are diabetic. Think again. You need to worry as a shocking 40% of all cancers are linked to obesity and overweight. Though researchers have not been able to establish the why of it yet; a link between obesity and cancer has been established by several studies carried out in the past decade. Therefore, being even mildly overweight means, you need to effect lifestyle and dietary modifications.
You are at risk of any of more than 13 kinds of cancer if you are overweight. Some of these kinds of cancer are the kind you would never have dreamt could have any kind of relation to obesity. For example, kidney cancer’s commonest manifestation — renal cell cancer — presents a risk which is nearly double for overweight people. If you or a loved one are carrying excess kilos, then you might well be in the pre-diabetic stage. While insulin resistance certainly contributes; you should keep in mind that the kidneys lie on a bed of fatty tissues. Therefore, any inflammation of the fatty tissues can have an injurious impact on your body, and enhance the risk of developing kidney cancer.
While many people have seen a family member, close family friend, or other loved one suffer from a brain tumor, or even die of it; few people know or realize that a kind of brain cancer begins with the meninges (the protective membrane sheathing the brain cells), and spreads to the spinal cord. The greater your body weight, the higher go your chances of getting this kind of cancer. While greater, more focused research, which includes controlled studies of people who have gained or lost weight during the period under review, is required to establish and pinpoint causality; you would be better of playing safe. Keep a close watch on the weighing scale.
Mother nature has singled out the ladies to suffer from more kinds of cancer which the men can’t possibly get. While only men can get prostate cancer; women can get endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, and cervical cancer. Women have a greater chance of suffering from breast cancer, though they have a better prognosis if it is diagnosed early. Few men get breast cancer, but there are no known survivors — at least in published records. When women have higher levels of estrogen, they are likelier to gain weight. Doctors have realized that hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is a much-favored line of treatment for menopausal distresses, creates more problems than it resolves. Apart from weight gain, it heightens the risk of cancer.
Excess fat in the body has been known to cause inflammation at diverse sites. This, in turn, causes insulin, estrogen, and thyroxin to be thrown into imbalance. As the body tries to cope with the changed hormonal levels, it often sparks frenetic activity in cell reproduction which could degenerate all too easily into cancerous proliferation. Pancreatic cancer is one of the cancer forms which have the grimmest prognosis. Since the pancreas regulates the production and discharge of insulin into the circulatory system, quite often people with severe diabetes are more at risk of developing it, especially if they need to shed several kilos.
While liver cancer is usually caused by a viral infection going by the innocuous name Hepatitis C, and alcohol abuse; you are twice as much at-risk if you are severely overweight or obese. The gall bladder is meant to store and concentrate bile produced by the liver, which helps you digest food, especially fried and fatty food. If you are overloaded with body fat, then it gets overworked, and raises your risk of getting cancer. Though more people get stones in the gall bladder than cancer; remember it is the stepping stone to getting cancer of the gall bladder.
Other parts of the alimentary canal like the throat (the esophagus), the stomach, large intestines, and the rectum become more susceptible to getting cancer when you are overweight as the fatty tissues increase inflammation throughout the body. While the exact reason why excess kilos impact the cancerous growth in these internal organs is unknown; morbidity studies carried out in the USA, and other countries have indicated the alarming nature of probability of getting cancer.
Solution: There’s nothing you can do about hereditary factors. However, what you can do is modify your diet by increasing the quantity of vegetables and fruits in your daily food; eliminating or drastically reducing dairy products and red meats; eliminating or reducing processed foods, and high carbohydrate content food. Add a modicum of regular exercise — ideally daily brisk walks — combined with meditation to calm your mind and de-stress.
Read our blogs regularly to learn what are the warning signs which you must heed. If in doubt, consult our oncologists for thorough screening, and appropriate interventions.