Can weight loss help to prevent cancer?
Smoking causes cancer. Everyone knows that. For the last half a century, tobacco products have carried labels stating this in no uncertain terms:
“Smoking Is Dangerous to Health and May Cause Death from Cancer and Other Diseases”
In fact, smoking has long been the number one cause of cancer. That is about to change due to the rise in levels of obesity.
There are a lot of other known and believed contributors to the development of cancer, like asbestos and industrial pollution. None of those, however, are poised to topple smoking and take over the number one spot for causing cancer. In fact, you may be part of the 50 percent of Americans that do not even know that there is a connection between cancer and obesity. But there is and it is a deadly one.
Obesity Soon to Be the #1 Cause of Cancer
Even though the use of tobacco products has decreased significantly over the years, either due to the recognition of the health risks or because it has become far less socially acceptable, there are still a half a million cancer deaths each year attributed to smoking. That obesity is about to supplant smoking as the top cause of cancer speaks volumes about the crisis level of obesity in the U.S.
If the link between obesity and cancer is news to you, that is understandable. Even healthcare professionals are struggling to figure out exactly how one relates to the other. The precise connection remains a mystery, but research is currently focused on the layer of fat that surrounds our internal organs. Unlike ordinary fat, this layer is referred to as visceral, which means that it is active metabolically, and its function is to produce estrogen. Because estrogen is believed to be a factor in increasing the potential of certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer, this is thought to be a promising focus for researchers.
In addition to estrogen production, this layer of fat is also known to secrete proteins which, in turn, raise the levels of insulin. This may be a factor in the abnormal cell growth rate that is a characteristic of cancer cells, as well as contributing to an increase in chronic inflammation.
Obesity Rate is Soaring
The likelihood that obesity increases the risk of developing cancer is particularly troubling due to the alarming increase in the percentage of people who fall into the obesity range. From the 50 years between 1960 and 2016, the obesity rate of men went from 11 percent to 38 percent and 16 percent to 41 percent for women.
Men and women who are obese double their chances of liver and kidney cancer and the risk of developing pancreatic cancer increases about 1.5 times over those who fall within the normal weight range. But these are not the only types of cancer that obesity is believed to be linked to. Others include:
- Gastric cardia cancer
- Esophageal adenocarcinoma
- Multiple myeloma
- Gallbladder cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Endometrial cancer
There has always been a long list of reasons to maintain a healthy body weight. The connection between obesity and cancer only makes that more compelling. There isn’t a lot that we, as individuals, can do to control the carcinogens in our air and water, but we can take control of the state of our own health when it comes to weight loss. The first step may be to consult with a trusted health professional who can help set you up on a plan that will work for you.
At the Southern California Center for Anti-Aging, we know how important weight control is to health and well-being, and we believe that safe and life changing weight loss can be attained and maintained when properly supervised. Weight control is extremely important, but our bodies must also be well-nourished in order to function properly and keep our immune systems at the ready. Once we have diagnosed your particular case through carefully administered tests, we prescribe a diet, or combination of diets, as well as a lifestyle program that we know will work for you. To learn more about our weight loss programs or if you have questions about any of our services, take advantage of our Free Consultation by clicking here to use our convenient online form.