Posts tagged ‘obesity’

If you are obese or if you indulge in alcoholism, then you pose yourself at a higher risk of cancer. If the scientists and specialists are to be believed then one may surmise that being over-weight and consuming alcohol is absolutely suicidal.

According to World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), UK and other high income countries report high rates of cancer because the citizens of these countries report low physical activity, higher cases of obesity and over-indulgence in alcohol.

UK has been placed at 22nd position in cancer rate with nearly 267 people diagnosed out of 100,000. But UK ranks higher at 11th position when it comes to breast cancer. Breast cancer has long been associated with excess body fat and alcohol consumption, hence the 11th rank of UK for breast cancer hints at a direct relationship between the disease and the UK women’s indulgence in alcohol.

Research has shown that women who drink on a regular basis are more likely to develop breast cancer than their non-drinking counterparts. Besides drinking, smoking is another factor which has been directly linked to various forms of cancer. For instance, Denmark has the highest rate of cancer and it is no surprise since a huge chunk of the Danish women is addicted to cigarette and alcohol.

Professor Martin Wiseman, medical and scientific adviser for WCRF, states that UK and other high-income countries report high cancer rates because of the lifestyle of the people. Physical activity, healthy consumption and abstinence from alcohol and smoking are some of the preventive measures that one can take to keep cancer at bay. So, the citizens of UK and other high-income countries need to alter their lifestyles significantly in order to combat this dreaded ailment.


The health benefits of Vitamin D seem to be varied. A number of studies in the past have also linked the vitamin to a decreased risk of cancer. An analysis of the vitamin carried out in ‘Genome Research’ last month inferred that vitamin D usually interacts with a number of genes associated with cancer risks thereby decreasing the chances of developing carcinoma. The risk of developing cancers of the ovary, breast, prostate, bladder, lung, skin, colon as well as the rectum can be minimized greatly by the intake of  vitamin D.

However, the various experiments carried out in this field seemed to have been limited in nature. The study size and the experimental designs involved kept the researchers from establishing the protective nature of vitamin D with certainty until now.

A report published in the ‘Cancer Prevention Research’ on the 21st of September states that focusing on the various subgroups would be beneficial in case of endometrial cancer.

The study led by Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, an oncologist associated with Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Washington, D.C.  included observing the development of endometrial cancer in both obese as well as non-obese mice.

The mice used in the study had been genetically altered and were predisposed towards developing endometrial cancer. They were then given vitamin D supplements. Hilakivi-Clarke said that she was surprised to find almost 75% of the obese mice remain cancer free while it was 33% of the non- obese ones.

She added that a few of the earlier studies had shown that the vitamin had no apparent effect on this specific type of cancer. However, the present study was conducted to see the effects on women of all sizes and the results suggest that vitamin D could indeed negate the risks of endometrial cancer due to obesity.

The exact mechanism of diminishing the risk factor remains undecided as of now but Hilakivi-Clarke believes that the vitamin could counteract some of the associated harmful factors linked to obesity like insulin resistance which in turn increases cancer risk.


Cancer Prevention Research Journal: Study published 21st September, 2010.

A majority of women who have been diagnosed with colon cancer after menopause are likely to die if they do not maintain a healthy body weight before being diagnosed with carcinoma. These findings from a study were reported in the current issue (September) of the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The journal is published by the American Association for Cancer Research.

The researchers discovered that women who did not enjoy good health and were either obese or underweight faced an increased risk of death. The mortality rate also went up for women who had a history of abdominal obesity before being diagnosed with colon cancer.

According to Anna E. Prizment, a post doctoral fellow attached to the epidemiology and community health unit of the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center, abdominal obesity can well be an indicator of the rate of mortality from colon cancer.  A healthy body weight is crucial for women who have already had their menopause, she added. It might also help in the treatment of colonic cancer and help the patient to evade death in the eventuality of being diagnosed with cancer later in life. She also stated that it was not clear whether losing weight after the diagnosis actually helped. It might just be a case of ‘too little too late’ by then. It is, therefore, important to keep a check on the body weight throughout one’s lifetime.

Prizment, along with her colleagues, retrieved the data of 1,096 patients from Iowa Women’s Health Study. The study observed 289 of them dying due to colon cancer out of the 493 who eventually died. The patients had been observed over a period of 20 years.  The study results further elaborated on the fact that the mortality rate for obese woman with BMI levels exceeding 30 kg/mg2  was increased by  45% whereas it was found to be over 89% in case of underweight women with BMI levels below 18 kg/mg2.

The study results also hinted at increased hormonal levels leading to a more aggressive form of cancer in obese women particularly those with abdominal obesity. They are also considered to have a higher risk of developing colon cancer.

Prizment has encouraged further studies on the effect of obesity particularly abdominal obesity on the prognosis of colon cancer after the diagnosis.

Source: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention (September Issue)