We all know that being overweight isn’t exactly healthy. Conventional medical science has linked obesity to several diseases including diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Being overweight also leads to multitudes of other health problems, and for a long time, it has been postulated that obesity can lead to some forms of cancer.
It is still widely debated if the fact of being overweight, in and of itself, actually increases cancer risk, or if it is simply that those who are obese, generally tend to lead a lifestyle that also exposes them to more known causes of cancer — such as consumption of red meat, bacon, and other smoked meats high in nitrates.
But, either way, there is no disputing the fact that there are significantly higher cancer rates among the morbidly obese, than the general population.
According to The National Cancer Institute, obese individuals are at a greater risk for the following types of cancer:
Does This Mean That being Obese Causes Cancer?
Furthermore, the National Cancer Institute has gone on record as stating that an overall BMI reduction of 2.2 pounds per person in the United States could reduce new cancer cases annually by as much as 100,000.
However, just because there seems to be a correlation between obesity and cancer, that does not necessarily mean “cause and effect.”
The jury is still out by both scientists and doctors if it is the extra pounds that directly lead to the increased cancer risk, or whether obese individuals tend to lead a less than a healthy lifestyle which exposes them to more potential carcinogens.
While the National Cancer Institute has widely reported on the apparent link between obesity and increased cancer risk, it warns that it is “inconclusive” whether it is the obesity itself, or the lifestyle among the overweight population that is the true cause for their greater cancer risk.
What We Do Know About Obesity and Cancer
We may never know for sure if obesity causes cancer. What is not in dispute, however, is that obesity places your body under strain on the cellular level. When you are overweight, your body has to work harder just to stay alive!
This puts stress on the cells, causing inflammation, and makes them more prone to develop into tumors. Also, increased weight leads to imbalances of certain hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. Levels of these hormones also influence the growth of certain cancers, especially breast cancer. Overweight women have been shown to be far more likely to get breast cancer.
Does It Really Matter?
In the long run, it doesn’t really matter if being overweight actually causes cancer. The mere fact that they go hand-in-hand also means that a diet designed to help you lose weight, for the most part, also can decrease your risk of cancer!
It’s no coincidence that eating healthy, cutting out junk foods, reducing processed foods, and increasing your intake of whole grains and fruits and veggies rich in antioxidants, will not only help your waistline but reduce your cancer risks as well.
Studies have also shown that cancer cells thrive on sugar, so reducing your sugar intake can help you lose weight and reduce your cancer risk.
The bottom line is, there are many very good reasons not to be overweight, and if reducing your risk of cancer is one of them, that is just another reason to start to shed those extra pounds!