Obesity has been linked to a number of health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more. Many people do not realize that obesity also increases the risk of some forms of cancer. Researchers have found an increase in the risk of cancers of the breast, endometrium, colon, kidney and esophagus in individuals who have an abnormally high and unhealthy proportion of body fat.
Recommendations for an individual’s healthy weight are often expressed in terms of body mass index (BMI). This number is calculated using your weight and height. Physicians may use your BMI to determine if your weight might be putting you at risk for health problems, including some forms of cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, obesity and inactivity may account for 25 to 30 percent of several major cancers, including colon, breast (in postmenopausal women), endometrial, kidney, and cancer of the esophagus. The specific biological mechanism that explains how obesity increases the risk of cancer may be different for different cancers. Some research has shown a link between losing weight and lowering the risk of getting certain cancers such as breast cancer.
While research in this area is still ongoing, people who are overweight or obese are encouraged to lose weight. Ask your physician to recommend a weight loss program that will benefit you most. Adding physical activity to your day is another way to get fit and live a healthy lifestyle. These changes can improve your overall health and reduce your risk for developing some types of cancers.
FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital provides cancer care, cancer treatment and cancer therapy for patients in the Pinehurst, Sanford, Raeford, Laurinburg, Lumberton, Troy and Rockingham regions of North Carolina.