An alarming new review published in The New England Journal of Medicine makes connections between obesity and 13 different types of cancer. This latest discovery has been made by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) at a recent conference. IARC is a global group of medical and cancer experts that is dedicated to finding cancer risks and promoting prevention. These verified cancer and obesity links have come to light after a 2002 study released by the group had previously only cited five cancers with links to obesity.
The IARC continues to focus its efforts on researching the reasons in which a person’s BMI affects their likelihood of developing cancer. In addition, their findings have brought them to gather strong evidence that sex hormones and inflammation are involved in cancer emerging in the body. Both inflammation and sex hormones have been shown to increase when the individual is carrying more fat. As a result, the IARC conducted experiments on rats in order to support their theory, and the results show that rats on low-calorie diets are less likely to develop cancer. On the contrary, obese rats on high calorie diets are more likely to develop cancer.
Moreover, one of the main questions at the forefront of this discussion is: If a person loses weight, will their risk for cancer go down? According to Dr. Colditz, that question is a complicated one with many extraneous factors. She says, “It’s hard to study in humans because so few people lose weight and keep it off. But the priority of avoiding weight gain is the first thing we need to address.” In other words, it’s difficult for scientists to study humans in this area because of our lack of dietary consistencies.