Alarming Fact: Obesity Linked to a Half Million New Cancers Worldwide

A new report conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer reveals that obesity is connected to 500,000 new cancer cases around the world every year – and, that two-thirds of obesity-related cancers occur in Europe and North America.

Researchers analyzed data from 184 countries, which showed that excess weight was linked with 345,000 new cancers in women in 2012, and 136,000 of new cancers in men that same year.

Nearly three quarters of the obesity-related cancers in women were either colon, endometrial or postmenopausal breast cancer. In men, colon and kidney cancer accounted for more than two-thirds of obesity-related cancers.

North America was said to contribute “by far” the most cases with 111,000 cancers, which is equivalent to almost one quarter of all new obesity-related cancers worldwide. Sub-Saharan Africa contributed the least with 7,300 cancers. Europe had around 6.5 percent of all new cancers per year, or approximately 65,000 cases. Asian countries have a smaller proportion of obesity-related cancers, but large populations mean that a tiny percentage is actually tens of thousands of cases.

Study leader Dr. Melina Arnold said in a journal news release:

“Our findings add support for a global effort to address the rising trends in obesity. The global prevalence of obesity in adults has doubled since 1980. If this trend continues it will certainly boost the future burden of cancer, particularly in South America and North Africa, where the largest increases in the rate of obesity have been seen over the last 30 years.”

Dr. Benjamin Cairns from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom wrote in an accompanying editorial:

fat“If 3ยท6% of all cancers are associated with high BMI, that is nearly half a million cancers, but this number is large mainly because the world population is large. Global health resources specifically for cancer prevention are not so large, and the resources targeted at obesity must be balanced against those for other important causes of cancer, particularly infections and tobacco use, which are each associated with much larger proportions of cases.”

Although there are obviously other risk factors for cancer, obesity is a major one, and must be addressed lest our world keeps getting sicker and sicker.

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-The Alternative Daily


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