Does Obesity Cause Cancer?
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Cancer And Obesity: What Can You Do?

Cancer is one of the most widely known diseases around the world. Cancer develops when malignant cells develop at an uncontrollable rate throughout the body. These malignant cells have the capacity to harm and damage the healthy cells, and to date there is no known cure for cancer, although there are certain treatments and therapies. It is the second biggest cause of mortality worldwide. With advancements in technology, there has been a significant improvement in recovery among patients but it is better to take preventative measures instead. Let’s take a look at what causes cancers and the factors related to it. 

How Does Obesity Cause Cancer?

It is widely known that obesity and cancer are closely related. When a person's actual weight is much greater than what is regarded to be a healthy weight for their height, they are said to be overweight or obese. A person’s BMI or body mass index is a way to tell whether they are overweight, obese, underweight or healthy. Although, if you have a BMI that's considered unhealthy, it doesn't always mean that you'll develop cancer. However, it does mean that the risk of developing cancer is higher than it would be if you had a healthy BMI. While obesity doesn’t cause cancer, it can lead to the development of cancerous cells which also depends on a number of different variables, such as age and genetics. Factors that humans don’t usually have control over.  

Obesity and cancer are related in an intricate way where certain changes in the body may lead to the development of cancer. Having excess fat leads to having more visceral fat cells in the body. The cells that make up visceral fat are big, and they are present in substantial numbers. This extra fat doesn't leave much space for oxygen to circulate throughout the body which creates an atmosphere of low oxygen levels which is a cause for inflammation.

Inflammation is also triggered by normal or mundane things such as injuries or illnesses. The body’s natural reaction to injury and illness is by default inflammation. For instance, if you receive a deep cut, the region surrounding the wound will become red and be quite painful to the touch. This mild inflammation surrounding the injured region helps mend the damaged tissue and contributes to the body's overall process of healing. However, chronic inflammation brought on by an excessive amount of visceral fat may cause harm to your body and raise your chance of developing cancer which is how obesity and cancer are related. 

Cancer develops when cells proliferate in an uncontrolled manner, which harms the cells in their immediate environment and leads to sickness. The more often cells undergo division and reproduction, the greater the likelihood that something may go awry, leading to the development of a tumor. The inflammation that might result from obesity also tends to prevent the body from reacting appropriately to insulin thus creating insulin resistance. Situations in which the body does not react to insulin as it should, the body ends up creating more insulin as it mistakes underutilization of insulin as a lack of insulin production. The rise in insulin that occurs as a consequence of insulin resistance sets off a chain reaction that results in a greater number of cells being created which may also lead to the development of cancerous or malignant cells. 

What Types Of Cancer Are Related To Obesity?

Obesity and cancer are related in more ways than one. Obesity is also a leading cause of several major health disorders such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, etc,. By being overweight, a person automatically increases their chances of contracting one or more of these diseases. 

There are several types of cancer that can be caused by being obese or overweight, so let’s take a look at these. 

  1. Bowel and breast cancer are two of the most commonly found cancer types to occur. 
  2. Esophageal (food pipe)
  3. Gallbladder
  4. Pancreatic 
  5. Uterus and ovary
  6. The upper stomach
  7. Liver
  8. Kidneys
  9. Myeloma (a rare form of blood cancer)
  10. Meningioma (a form of brain cancer also known as brain tumor) 
  11. Thyroid

There are several factors like genetic markers, age, lifestyle, etc that cause the development of cancerous cells but obesity and cancer go hand in hand in most cases. Some of the above mentioned cancer types are the most difficult to cure hence it is necessary to follow a lifestyle pattern that prevents as many health issues as possible.

Also read about benefits of dates for diabetes

Tips To Lower The Risk Of Cancer If You Are Obese?

Leading a healthy and well balanced life is the first step towards avoiding and preventing most of the major health issues. Here are a few things you can do to lower the risk of developing cancer.

  • Consume a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits, vegetables, and meals derived from other plant sources, such as whole grains and legumes, should make up the bulk of your diet.
  • Maintain a healthy BMI and cut out refined carbohydrates and fat from animal sources, in order to reduce the amount of calories you consume. 
  • The more you consume alcohol the higher your chance of developing a variety of cancers, including cancer of the breast, colon, lung, kidney, and liver. 
  • Reduce your intake of processed meats as research suggests that eating red meat increases the risk of developing cancer.
  • For women specifically, including extra virgin olive oil and nuts and following a mediterranean diet lowers the risk of developing breast cancer. Since the majority of the foods consumed on a Mediterranean diet are plant-based they include a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, legumes, and nuts. People who follow a mediterranean diet tend to have healthy fats in their body which works wonders at preventing health issues. 

Keeping a healthy weight may reduce the chance of developing many different forms of cancer. In addition to that, physical exercise is important. Regularly working out can have various benefits not just physically but also mentally and emotionally. Exercising regularly releases happy hormones which regulate mood and other hormones that help the day to day functioning of the body. It is well known that a healthy mind is super important in combating a physical disease. 

In order to get the major health advantages of daily exercise, you should aim to do at least 40 minutes of moderate exercise at least 4 to 5 times a week. You might also engage in exercise that varies between moderate and strenuous levels depending on your requirement. As a general objective, try to include at least half an hour of physical exercise into each day of your routine. An incremental increase of physical activity can lead to steady results.

Bottomline

Obesity and cancer are intricately linked, with excessive weight causing specific changes in the body leading to the development of cancer. Having a large number of fat cells causes a lack of oxygen in the body, which leads to inflammation. Chronic inflammation caused by an excess of fat may damage your health and increase your risk of getting cancer. Obesity is also a primary cause of numerous serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Regular exercise aids in preventing the development of these major health complications by generating happy hormones, which ensure mental and physical well being. Maintaining a healthy weight may minimize the risk of acquiring a variety of cancers. Following a healthy diet, having a regulated routine and working out daily are some of the lifestyle changes that you can bring about in order to avoid health problems and continue a healthy life. 

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FAQS

Does cancer feed on fat?

Although cancer does not feed off fat, fat cells play a huge role in the development of cancer. Adipocytes, often known as fat cells, are filled with lipids. Studies suggest that the presence of adipocytes can cause malignant tumors to form in an aggressive manner. 

Which cancer is most associated with obesity?

In men and women, colorectal cancer is the kind of obesity-related cancer that occurs most often. More than ninety percent of newly diagnosed cases of cancer are linked to obesity in those who are fifty years old or older. Obesity can also cause several other health issues. 

Can you get cancer in fat cells?

A liposarcoma is an uncommon kind of cancer that develops in the fatty tissue and spreads throughout the body. This particular kind of tumor may develop in any part of your body. The most common locations are the abdominal region, the thigh, and the area behind the knee. Fat cells may also expedite the development of cancerous or malignant cells.

Disclaimer

This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.