Obesity is a disease in which a person has an unhealthy amount and/or distribution of body fat. Compared with people of healthy weight, those with overweight or obesity are at greater risk for many diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and at least 13 types of cancer, as well as having an elevated risk of death from all causes. Being overweight doesn’t mean that you'll definitely develop cancer. But if you are overweight you are more likely to get cancer than if you are a healthy weight.
People who are overweight or obese are at higher risk for at least 13 different types of cancer
- Breast cancer in postmenopausal women
- Colon and rectal cancer
- Esophagus cancer (adenocarcinoma)
- Gallbladder cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Liver cancer
- Meningioma (cancer of the membranes covering the brain)
- Multiple myeloma
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreas cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Uterine cancer
Extra fat in the body doesn’t just sit there, it's active, sending out signals to the rest of the body. These signals can tell cells in our body to divide more often, which can lead to cancer.
The signals released by fat cells can affect:
- Growth hormones- Too much body fat can cause levels of growth hormones to rise, which tells cells to divide more often. This raises the chance that cancer cells will develop.
- Inflammation- When there are more fat cells in the body, immune cells go to the area, possibly to remove dead fat cells. This can lead to inflammation, which causes cells to divide more quickly. Over time, this can increase the risk of cancer.
- Sex hormones- After menopause, fat cells produce the hormone oestrogen. This can make cells in the breast and womb divide more often which increases the risk of cancer developing.
These are the main ways scientists have identified so far, but research continues to find out more about the ways extra body fat can cause cancer.
(Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice. Please consult a doctor before starting any regime or medical advice.)
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