6 percent of all cancers are linked to these risk factors

6 percent of all cancers are linked to these risk factors

There’s another reason to watch your waistline.

Nearly 6 percent of all cancer cases can be linked back to excess weight and diabetes, according to research published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

For the study, researchers analyzed data related to 12 different cancers by age and sex in 175 countries in 2012. They also mined data on diabetes and high BMI from those countries starting in 2002, based on the assumption that it takes 10 years for cancer to develop in those with diabetes and excess weight.

Using these sources of information, the researchers found a relationship between the rising number of cancer cases and increasing prevalence of diabetes and excess weight: 792,600 cancer cases, or 5.6 percent of all cancers in the world, can be linked to the combined effects of diabetes and excess weight.

Since obesity and diabetes — known risk factors for cancer — have been on the rise since 2002, the study authors say we can expect to see a higher cancer burden linked to these conditions in the coming decades.

“It has been well known that there is a strong link between cancer and comorbid conditions such as obesity and diabetes, but these study results paint a specific and grim picture of that reality,” says Dr. Mebea Aklilu, a medical oncologist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.

“The key takeaway is to adopt an active lifestyle focused on a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Such lifestyle changes can go a long way in preventing conditions that increase our risk of cancer,” he adds.

Are you at risk of developing diabetes? Learn by taking our Diabetes Risk Assessment.

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One Comment

  1. The author makes reference to, “the rising number of cancer cases” in paragraph 3. The common belief that cancer rates in the United States are rising in incorrect. While rates of new diagnoses vary by disease site, the rate of all-site new cancer diagnoses in the United States has been declining steadily since the mid-1990s. See “Cancer Stat Facts, Cancer of Any Site” at https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/all.html. See also “Browse the SEER Cancer Statistics Review (CSR) 1975-2013”, at https://seer.cancer.gov/archive/csr/1975_2013/browse_csr.php?sectionSEL=2&pageSEL=sect_02_table.06.html.

    In addition, survival rates for those who do get cancer is improving. According to the National Cancer Institute, “In the United States, the overall cancer death rate has declined since the early 1990s. The most recent SEER Cancer Statistics Review, updated in September 2016, shows that cancer death rates decreased by:

    1.8% per year among men from 2004 to 2013
    1.4% per year among women from 2004 to 2013
    1.4% per year among children ages 0–19 from 2009 to 2013
    Although death rates for many individual cancer types have also declined, rates for a few cancers have stabilized or even increased.” (Source: National Cancer Institute, https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/statistics).

    While the various cancers remain a significant threat to public and individual health, it is important to be accurate in our statements about these diseases. Things are not as good as we would like, but for most cancers, things are getting better, not worse. Cancers are frightening diseases, but the situation is not hopeless, as evidenced by declining rates of many cancers, along with increasing survival rates.

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About the Author

Jaimie Oh
Jaimie Oh

Jaimie Oh, health enews contributor, is regional manager of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Health Care. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has nearly a decade of experience working in publishing, strategic communications and marketing. Outside of work, Jaimie trains for marathons with the goal of running 50 races before she turns 50 years old.