Weight Loss Crucial to Reducing Cancer Risk
A large-scale data review projectedthat about 10% of all cancers—whichamounts to more than 100,000 cases peryear—could be avoided if people werenot overweight or obese. These projectionsare based on published studies,updates to the 2002 International Agencyfor Research on Cancer report, and datafrom the Nurses' Health Study II. Accordingto Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH, ofthe Harvard School of Public Health, 14%of colon cancers could be avoided ifpatients were not overweight or obese,as could 11% of breast cancer cases, 49%of endometrial cancers, 31% of kidneycancers, 30% of esophageal cancers, 14%of pancreas cancers, 20% of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cases, and 17% ofmultiple myeloma cases. He emphasizesthat these estimates are conservativewhen taking into account the prevalenceof obesity in the United States. He notesthat women who lose 5 to 20 lb can significantlyreduce their risk of developingbreast cancer. Dr. Colditz hopes thesefindings will reinforce the message thatadults need to lose weight and keep it offin order to avoid the risk of cancer, as wellas heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.