The mechanism by which excess body fat, being overweight or obesity, increases the risk of certain types of cancer is still not completely understood. One theory is that excess body fat alters hormone production and interferes with cell production. The more body fat, the greater this alteration is and thus the risk of cancer.
Around 80% of cancer cases are preventable in the adult population, and 30% are related to the lack of healthy habits such as increased weight, physical inactivity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and inadequate nutrition (including low vegetables and fruits consumption). However, body weight seems to have a greater influence on the development of cancer.
According to recent studies, weight gain and being overweight or obesity are linked to 13 types of cancer, including:
- Breast, endometrium and ovary
- Esophagus, stomach, colon and rectum
- Kidney and bladder
- Liver and pancreas
- Brain and blood cells (myeloma)
In Mexico, the most prevalent cancer in men aged 20 years and over is in digestive organs (such as stomach, colon and rectum), while women suffer breast cancer at a greater extent. Malignant tumors are the third leading cause of death in the Mexican population, after heart disease and diabetes. Cancer in digestive organs has the highest mortality rate, followed by genital organs in men and breast cancer in women.
Timely cancer treatment is linked to its early detection. The possibility of recovery is higher if it diagnosed in an early stage, so it is important to participate in mass screening campaigns, as well as to perform regular examinations.
Some recommendations for cancer prevention, associated with an excessive level of body fat include:
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Eat a balanced diet
- Have regular meal times
- Perform at least 150 minutes per week of physical activity
- Limit time spent in sedentary activities
- Avoid smoking
With these actions, cancer incidence can be prevented, as well as the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease.
American Cancer Society. Body weight and cancer risk. Available from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diet-physical-activity/body-weight-and-cancer-risk/effects.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cancer and obesity. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/obesity-cancer/index.html
Massetti GM, Dietz WH, Richardson LC. Excessive weight gain, obesity and cancer. Available from: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2656710
Cancer Research UK. How being overweight causes cancer. Available from: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/bodyweight-and-cancer/how-being-overweight-causes-cancer
Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía. Estadísticas a propósito del Día Mundial contra el Cáncer. Available from: http://www.inegi.org.mx/saladeprensa/aproposito/2017/cancer2017_Nal.pdf