Obesity link to increase in risk of common cancer types

A new study has shown a potentially significant link between obesity and the increased risk of developing common types of cancer.

The study, conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, looked at factors affecting the likelihood of developing 22 of the most common cancers. 5.24 million individuals aged 16 and older were included in the study.

166,955 people developed one of the 22 cancers examined over an average follow-up period of 7.5 years. A higher body mass index was associated with 17 out of the specific types of cancer studied.

A rise in diabetes and cardiovascular cases is expected to coincide with the rapid increase in overweight and obese people in both the UK and worldwide. Currently, one in four adults and one in five children in the UK is obese.

Lead author of the study, Dr Krishnan Bhaskaran, National Institute for Health Research postdoctoral fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “Our results show that if these trends continue, we can also expect to see substantially more cancers as a result.”