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Obesity 'a risk factor for 11 cancers'

02 March 2017 08:46

Obesity has been linked to a number of cancers

Obesity has been linked to a number of cancers

Researchers have highlighted a link between obesity and several forms of cancer.

People who are obese face an increased risk of developing up to 11 different types of cancer, according to researchers at Imperial College London.

Stomach, bowel, breast and kidney cancers were among those whose risk was heightened among the obese. People who have overcome cancer can arrange specialist medical travel insurance.

The importance of a healthy weight

The findings have shed further light on the "huge role that obesity plays in increasing cancer risk", according to a spokesperson from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

The organisation estimates that if everyone living in the UK was at a healthy weight, 25,000 cancer cases could be prevented annually.

Researchers at Imperial measured 36 types of cancer against BMI, weight gain and waist circumference across scores of different studies.

A small number of these studies highlighted links between cancer and obesity.

Dr Panagiota Mitrou, director of research funding at the WCRF, said: "This research, which we have funded, further emphasises the huge role that obesity plays in increasing cancer risk.

"After not smoking, being a healthy weight is the most important thing people can do to reduce their cancer risk.

"With obesity rates continuing to rise in the UK and worldwide, it is incredibly important that tackling the obesity epidemic be made an urgent priority."

Boosting people's awareness

A spokesperson for Public Health England said public awareness regarding the relationship between cancer and obesity is lacking.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, explained: "While this research provides yet more evidence of the link between obesity and some major types of cancer, more people need to be aware of the risk.

"Less than half the population realise that being obese increases the risk of cancer and, with almost two thirds of adults carrying excess weight, this is worrying."