Many people know that conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes
are commonly linked to obesity. But what about cancer and other chronic
conditions? Is there a link between being overweight and being diagnosed
with cancer? According to
National Cancer Institute, the answer is yes. Obesity is known to be associated with an increased
risk of esophageal, pancreatic, colon and rectal, breast (after menopause),
endometrial (lining of the uterus), kidney, thyroid and gallbladder cancer.
There are several reasons why obesity is linked to an increased risk of
cancer. For one, fat tissue produces excess amounts of estrogen. High
levels of estrogen are associated with breast and endometrial cancers.
Another link is the increase of body fat that affects the levels of a variety
of hormones and growth factors throughout the body. When increased, these
can promote the growth of cancer cells. Similarly, because obesity is
associated with gallstones and high blood pressure, there is a direct
correlation between gallbladder cancer and kidney cancer. As well, the
fat cells present throughout an obese individual may affect the processes
that regulate cell cancer growth.
In addition, being overweight influences immune system function and inflammation.
The levels of certain hormones, such as insulin and estrogen, the factors
that regulate cell growth, and the proteins that influence how the body
uses certain hormones have been linked to cancer risk.
Cancer is not the only chronic condition obese individuals need to worry
about. Some disease symptoms associated with obesity include insulin resistance,
high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, stroke,
type 2 diabetes, and gall bladder disease.
If you are overweight or obese, consider talking to your primary care physician
about your weight or
download our Healthy Weight Loss Guide to kick start your healthier lifestyle.