Study: Weight Loss Reduces Risk of Growths Linked to Colorectal Cancer


The research team suggests that healthy weight maintenance throughout adulthood is crucial in preventing colorectal adenoma.

Overweight and obese people who lose weight may reduce their chances of later developing colorectal adenoma, which is a type of benign growth or polyp in the colon or rectum that could lead to colorectal cancer, according to a research paper published in JNCI Cancer Spectrum.

Physicians have commonly recommended weight loss for overweight and obese people to address a myriad of health issues. Even with its beneficial effects, it is still unknown whether weight loss can help reduce the chance of developing colorectal adenoma. There have only been a few studies that have assessed the role of weight change in investigating colorectal adenoma risk in relation to obesity or body mass index assessed at 1 time point, according to the study authors.

The research team assessed weight change over 3 periods of adulthood in relation to colorectal adenoma using self-reported weight data in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. The trial enrolled 154,942 men and women in the United States between 55 and 74 years of age from 1993 to 2001 to evaluate the efficacy of different screening approaches in preventing death from various cancers. This current study used data from participants in the screening arm of the trial, who received a colorectal cancer screening test at baseline and again at 3 or 5 years later.

Compared with maintaining a stable weight, weight loss in adulthood was associated with a 46% reduced risk for colorectal adenoma. The study authors also noted that weight gain in adulthood was associated with an increased chance of adenoma, particularly for weight gain greater than 6.6 pounds over 5 years.

The research team suggests that healthy weight maintenance throughout adulthood is crucial in preventing colorectal adenoma. In addition, adults who are overweight or obese may be able to reduce their risk for developing colorectal adenoma by losing weight.

“Our findings suggest that avoiding weight gain in adulthood may help lower someone’s chance of developing a pre-cancerous growth called colorectal adenoma, which may in turn reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer,” said study senior author Kathryn Hughes Barry, in a press release. “Based on our findings, we would not recommend weight loss for all adults. But the results suggest that overweight and obese adults may benefit from weight loss.”


Weight loss reduces the risk of growths linked to colorectal cancer. EurekAlert! February 1, 2022. Accessed February 2, 2022.

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