Millennials have greater risk for obesity and cancer, US study reports

February 6, 2019

The chances of obesity increase as the population becomes more overweight, with some directly linked to cancer.

The US has seen a marked rise in obesity in recent years, with obesity-related cancers further rising in millennials in their 20s and 30s,according to published findings by The American Cancer Society in The Lancet health journal. Researchers noted an increase in six such cancers in people under 50- colorectal, uterine, gallbladder, kidney, pancreatic and blood cancer multiple myeloma. Some risks doubled for millennials compared to baby boomers, now aged 50-70, but risks in the over-50s were not as obvious. This may be due to early and prolonged exposure to unhealthy weight sources, possibly reversing cancer treatment progress.

Dr. Ahmedin Jemal of the American Cancer Society has likened the study to a warning – the burden of obesity-related cancers and deaths are likely to increase for young people as they age.

Extra body fat is known to heighten risk, and scientists currently understand these about obesity and cancer:

  • fat cells make extra hormones and growth factors
  • growth factors and hormones relate to cells in the body to divide more rapidly
  • the chances of cancer cell production increases to finally cause a tumour

The Charity Cancer Research reports that obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK, after smoking. Researchers now suggest at least 12 types of cancers tied to obesity, even ovarian cancer and breast cancer in women.But, not necessarily everyone who is obese will get these cancers.

Dr. Brenda Birmann, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, told the Lancet that risk factors other than obesity obviously contribute and warrants close monitoring of cancer incidence trends, as the study also included decreased rates of cancers related to smoking and infections in the younger generation.

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Category: Education, Features

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