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Cancer warning for obese women

19 March 2015 12:03

Obese women are more likely to suffer from certain cancers, data shows

Obese women are more likely to suffer from certain cancers, data shows

Women who are obese are significantly more likely to suffer from some forms of cancer than those of normal weight, a charity says.

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) claims carrying a large amount of excess weight makes women 40% more likely to have cancer of the bowel, gall bladder, gullet, kidney, pancreas and womb, or post menopausal breast cancer.

It says that in every 1,000 obese women, 274 will suffer from a cancer linked to their weight, while the ratio is 194 to 1,000 in women whose weight is considered to be healthy.

'Quarter of UK women obese'

CRUK says around one in four women living in the UK are classed as obese, according to their body mass index (BMI).

Based on their height and weight, a BMI between 25 and 29 indicates a person is overweight and any figure above that means they are obese.

People who are obese have more fat cells, which produce more hormones like oestrogen, and it is thought that every year as many as 18,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with cancer because of their weight.

Cancer sufferers heading abroad on holiday are able to arrange specialist cancer medical insurance.

However, it is thought that small shifts in people's habits could also reduce their health risks.

Small lifestyle changes

Small changes to lifestyle are enough to make a difference to cancer risk, according to CRUK's head of health information Dr Julie Sharp.

She says women do not have to never eat their favourite foods, run every day or join a gym to improve their health, but just make small alterations to the way they live and stick to them.

Dr Sharp is advising women to eat less fatty and sugary food, and get off the bus a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way to get some all-important exercise.

Local services can advise people on other small changes they can make in their lives to build on their healthier lifestyles and lose even more weight, she says.

Our genes, lifestyles and the environment around us are all known to affect cancer risk and people can improve their health by making changes to the factors they can control, Dr Sharp says.