l In Europe, 5% of cancers are caused by being overweight
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines obesity as “an abnormal or excessive accumulation of fat in adipose tissue, to the extent that health is affected.” Currently accepted criteria for overweight are defined as body mass index (BMI) levels higher than 25 kg / m2 and obesity as BMI 30 kg / m2. In addition to BMI, obesity is also associated with several lifestyle changes, including an increased intake of high fat / energy foods and reduced physical activity. “Currently, it is estimated that 1.1 billion people are overweight, of which at least 300 million are obese. Cancer affects approximately 22 million people living with this condition. This makes it a major public health issue. Studies have shown that in the European Union, excess body weight represents 5% of all cases of incidental cancer, 3.5% in men and 6.5% in women. This means that 27,000 cases of male cancer and 45,000 cases of women are associated with obesity each year. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has assessed the association between cancer and obesity, focusing on certain types such as colon cancer, breast cancer (especially in menopausal women), endometrial or uterine cancers, kidney and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Other cancers related to obesity include pancreatic, ovarian, cervical and blood cancers. In addition to favoring certain cancers, obesity is also linked to decreased life expectancy in certain neoplastic diseases (cancers), explains surgeon Mihai Ionescu.
Types of cancers associated with obesity
Weight gain in women is also favored by menopause, and being overweight increases the risk of breast cancer after menopause. This is especially true among women who have never used hormone replacement therapy. Obesity also increases the risk of breast cancer recurrence and decreases survival in both pre and postmenopause.
Endometrial or uterine cancer
It is estimated that the risk of endometrial cancer in obese and overweight women will increase by 2 to 5 times. Unlike breast cancer, the effect of obesity on the risk of endometrial cancer appears to remain constant throughout adulthood and is not affected by the onset of menopause.
Colon and rectal cancer
There are studies linking bowel cancer to obesity. Relative risk estimates ranged from 1.2 to 2.0. Obesity can lead to the development of colorectal cancer at an early stage and can also cause the reappearance of adenomatous polyps, which are considered precursors of bowel cancer.
There is an increased risk of kidney cancer and obesity, especially in women with high BMI, regardless of other risk factors, such as hypertension and diabetes.
In Western countries, the incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma has increased with increasing obesity. Studies show that there is an estimated 2-3 times increased risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma with increased BMI. There is a possible increase in gastroesophageal reflux disease in obese people and this could be a causal link between esophageal cancers and obesity.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has not found any direct association between the incidence of prostate cancer and obesity. However, there is a link between obesity and the speed of cancer.
The risk of gallbladder cancer increases twice in overweight subjects. Being overweight has also been linked to an increased risk of death from gallbladder cancer, ”says doctor Mihai Ionescu, a specialist in obesity surgery.