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Obesity And Bowel Cancer

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009 Obesity And Bowel Cancer

Both the daily Mail (Jenny Hope) and the daily Telegraph (11 05 09) are both highlighting the links surrounding obesity and bowel cancer.

It has been estimated that a total of 18,600 cancer cases could be prevented if people had a body mass index (BMI) under 25, said Professor Martin Wiseman, medical and scientific adviser for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

Indeed the types of cancers that could be avoided include breast, bowel, oesophagus, kidney, pancreas, womb and gallbladder.

Professor Martin Wiseman, WCRF medical and scientific adviser, said: ‘The stark fact is that every year in this country, many thousands of people are diagnosed with cancer that could have been prevented if they had maintained a healthy weight.

‘This is a real cause for concern and the problem is only going to get worse if the number of people who are overweight continues to rise.’

The new estimate is nearly 50 per cent higher than the 13,000 cases a year linked to obesity by the charity Cancer Research UK. WCRF, a charity that promotes ways of preventing the disease, says the evidence is now much stronger than even ten years ago. Body fat promotes the production of hormones and growth factors such as oestrogen and insulin which can increase the risk of cancer. Obese people are also less likely to eat healthy amounts of fruit and vegetables that can protect against cancer.

Professor Wiseman said: ‘After not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the most important thing you can do. But a recent survey showed almost 40 per cent of people still do not know excess fat is a cause of cancer. We need to do more to spread the message.’

‘This means we need to do more work to spread the message that maintaining a healthy weight is something positive people can to reduce their risk of developing cancer later in life.’ Overall, experts believe that around one in three of the most common cancers could be prevented if people ate healthily, took more exercise and maintained a healthy weight.

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