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Ticking time bomb: Being obese ‘more than doubles’ risk of common forms of cancer

Being overweight or obese has been linked to at least 13 types of cancer. Obesity more than doubles the risk of the most common forms of uterine and esophageal cancer.

Turns out, excess body fat impacts the body in multiple ways that may aid and abet a developing tumor. “The whole hormonal milieu changes dramatically with obesity,” says Stephen Hursting, professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. The first “big basket” of changes includes a rise in growth factors, including insulin and those that promote blood vessel formation, he explains. A second big basket involves substances that promote inflammation. “The obese state is a kind of smoldering, low but insistent inflammatory state,” Hursting says. A third alteration is suppression of the immune responses that fight incipient cancers. And there are other impacts, including obesity-related changes to the microbiome, metabolism and gene expression.

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How can we diffuse this time bomb? Clues come from studies of patients who have slimmed down after bariatric surgery and trimmed their cancer rate as well. A study with 88,625 obese women found, for example, that those who underwent such operations had a 50 percent lower rate of postmenopausal breast cancer than those who did not.

Read full, original post: The Cancer-Obesity Time Bomb

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