Cancers associated with being overweight or obese account for 40% of all diagnoses of the disease in the United States, an increasing share of all cancer diagnoses nationwide.
Although new cases of cancer have fallen since the 1990s, diagnoses of overweight- and obesity-linked cancers increased between 2005 and 2014, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Being overweight is associated with increased risk for 13 types of cancer.
“When we step back and lump together all the types of cancer associated with overweight and obesity, we saw a direction upwards,” said Anne Schuchat, deputy director of the CDC.
“That’s not a smoking gun, but it’s a note of caution for us.”
Researchers at the CDC used data from the US Cancer Statistics database from 2005 to 2014, looking specifically at cancers the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies as linked to being overweight.
The study looked at cancers more likely to occur in people who are overweight or obese. These cancers are linked to being overweight, but are not necessarily caused by being overweight.
The study found that between 2005 and 2014, the rates of overweight-linked cancers increased 7% (not including colorectal cancer), while rates of cancers not associated with obesity declined 13%. In effect, increased rates of overweight-associated cancers slowed the trend of decreasing cancer cases nationally.
“Our report found an increase in a number of types of cancers associated with obesity and overweight, at a period when the prevalence of obesity and overweight has increased substantially in the middle ages,” said Schuchat. “The prevalence of obesity and overweight is starting to show up in our cancer statistics.”
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