August 5th, 2010
03:56 PM ET

Increased obesity means increased cancer cases

News from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that 26.7 percent of the American population, or 72.5 million people, are now obese has resulted in a closer look at anticipated new cancer cases over the next several years.

The American Institute for Cancer Research says the uptick in obesity rates will prompt an increase in cancer cases as well.

"There are 2.4 million more obese Americans this year, right now, than there were two years ago," says Susan Higginbotham, Director of Research at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).

"And we're concerned because this means more cancer cases in the future because of the strong link between obesity and certain types of cancer."

AICR projects there will be more than 103,000 new cancer cases caused by excess body fat in 2010. Forty-nine percent are projected to be endometrial cancers, followed by esophageal cancers at thirty five percent and pancreatic cancers at twenty eight percent. It's anticipated that those numbers will increase over the next several years in response to the increased obesity rates.

It's important to note that the precise relationship between obesity and cancer has not been established. Researchers have not pegged the exact physiological mechanisms that cause obesity to contribute to new cancer cases. However, researchers like Higginbotham argue the strong association between the two has been repeatedly affirmed, making obesity one of the most modifiable risk factors for cancer.

"We don't understand the relationship really well," says Higginbotham. "It's still an active area of research... But we are confident there is a strong association confirmed."

Higginbotham is quick to point out that not all people with a BMI of 25 or higher will develop cancer. Likewise, not all patients with these cancers are overweight. But she argues the strong correlation between the two should not be ignored.

"This means there's really a need for action right now and it's never been more urgent," says Higginbotham. "We emphasize preventing weight gain and maybe preventing future cancers."

soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Stop the fat hate

    Hooray, another article that gives fat-haters a chance to spew more hate!

    I'm not encouraging people to make a point of getting huge, and certainly there is a point where health and mobility are compromised, and that's ot good, but you can't convince me there's something wrong with some extra meat on one's bones; especially if they are getting a healthy amount of vitamins/minerals/excercise/vegetables/fruits.

    ...Ok, let the hate resume, and all the people with no asses can take all their self-loating and project it all on a large, easy targeted demographic; the chubs.

    August 5, 2010 at 16:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DAISHI

      I don't get the argument that skinner means you're self loathing or something. I used to clock in at over 300 lbs and today I am 220. I have 30 more pounds to hit my weight goal, this accomplished over the last two years. I have never felt better or more comfortable with myself since I lost weight, love my new clothes and fashions I feel comfortable in, love the healthier foods I eat, love the fact that I can run for an hour (something I hadn't dreamed of since leaving college), and so forth.

      August 5, 2010 at 18:59 | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Wait, so an article reporting on studies that show a correlation is somehow an irrational hatred of the obese? At what point did you opt to replace logic with a knee-jerk reactions and appeals to emotion.

      Lets face it, being obese is not healthy and more and more evidence is showing this to be the case. You can claim "fat hate" all you want but if people are in an unhealthy and unsafe condition we should know all you can about what might happen because of it and do all we can to help them.

      August 5, 2010 at 21:25 | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      stop hating on fats? how about you eat your words... its time for this country to take a turn for the better. I'm sick of these articles... there should be more articles about the war or much more important things in our modern world. SO get up, walk to get the paper in the morning and get off the computer.

      August 5, 2010 at 21:28 | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      "hating fats"?? Huh? I saw nothing but factual info in the article. Why is this fat hating? And where were you when smokers were being beaten up daily in the papers?

      August 6, 2010 at 07:54 | Report abuse |
    • Brad


      August 6, 2010 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
    • chico

      Yeh, but all those Cubbies are additng to my health insurance costs. We need to start charging a fat premium ..... how about 2x the fare for public transportation when someone takes up two seats with there xxxxx wide bottom.

      August 6, 2010 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
  2. katheen

    i saw recent info about high dioxin levels in humans now and one of the leading sources was beef fat .
    If a diet was high in butter , ice cream , cheese or other animal fats , would the extra dioxin contribute to the cancer ?

    August 5, 2010 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • New Vegan

      I have recently read an amazing book "The China Study" that clearly identifies foods that contribute to cancers. My understanding of the research has shifted me to an all vegan diet (no meat, dairy or other animal products). I eat eat lots of fresh fruit and veggies, along with whole grains. I feel great – more energy, less joint pain and headaches, have lost some weight and my grocery bill is less.

      August 6, 2010 at 17:12 | Report abuse |
  3. Um, ok...

    This isn't about hate, this is about actual medical facts. I am so sick of overweight/obese people arguing that it's ok to be that way and saying that normal weight/skinny people are miserable and just want to "hate." It isn't true; there are SO many detriments to being even moderately overweight. So much scientific backing. Honestly, this just sounds like a huge excuse to not have to change something about yourself. I am currently at a healthy weight but I was overweight for most of my childhood. I know how much it sucks. I know what it's like to hate your body, to be teased, to have low self confidence and to not fit into the cute clothes properly.

    So, don't you sit there and say "people with no asses" are the only ones with self-loathing. No, it's not ok to make fun of, harass, or demean overweight people. But maybe the doctors in this country are writing articles like this because obesity is a real issue, cancer is a real issue, and the two are linked. If we don't change attitudes about making healthy eating habits in this country, we are looking at even more medical risks down the road.

    My advice to you? Get real. Stop being a hypocrite and start exercising and eating right. If you truly love and care about yourself, you'll do just that. Otherwise you'll remain in your own little fantasy where fat people are the healthy ones.

    August 5, 2010 at 17:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DEB

      I wish I had had lost weight earlier. I ended up with endometrial cancer. I am very sure that it was linked to that due to all I have read. Secondary cancers now to worry about are colorectal, breast and liver.
      I had already lost some weight at Weightwatchers but it was too late and probably should have been done 15 yrs before.
      After I lost weight, i no longer had asthma problems - there has been shown a link to being overweight - I have more energy - I won't be spending time in the Drs offices like my mom and sister who have diabetes - or spending money and time on insulin, meds and injecting myself.
      A secondary effect which is unfortunate to the overweight person is that I was treated much better by strangers.

      August 5, 2010 at 18:19 | Report abuse |
  4. Gala

    As I understand, BMI is not a very informative factor, especially at the range 25 – 29. Is it possible that body builders at the risk too? What about skinny coach potatoes?
    It would be better if they also checked some other unhealthy life style markers like waist or neck circumference .

    August 5, 2010 at 17:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Aaron @stop the fat hate

    why should i stop hating people who make my insuranse premiums go up? and there is a big difference between have a little meat on your bones(overweight) and being fat(obese)

    August 5, 2010 at 17:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Colleendma16

      Aaron…you are right. Please be sure to hate people who smoke, do extreme sport, have every gone above the speed limit in their car, had a drink of alcohol, were abused by their parents or a domestic partner, had a child with a disease or gotten older (even in good health), are poor and can't afford good food or health care, ever had a baby, had unprotected sex, (I could go on and on)

      I am guessing this leaves you alone…until your next birthday.

      August 5, 2010 at 23:07 | Report abuse |


    August 5, 2010 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. 7475

    So tired of the comments about BMI not being accurate for 'body builders, 25 yr olds"... we know! We are talking about the people like shown as the photo to this article!! Eating everything they want and saying 'poor me" .. some people yes have a medical reason they weigh what they do, but NOT 30% ++ of the country!
    Aren't you tired of being hot and sweaty when others aren't? Do you like not being able to walk a short distance to a magnificent view somewhere because you couldn't walk 1/4 mile to the viewpoint (on level ground), or are Diabetic now? or can't fit in the ride with your kid at an amusement park (you pd $80+ for!! ).
    Enuf- Yes I make sacrifices to maintain, but I still have a treat everyday. You just have to decide what you want! Go for it!

    August 5, 2010 at 18:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DEB

      Or get dirty looks when you don't fit in your seat on the plane and people beside you have to be uncomfortable.

      August 5, 2010 at 18:42 | Report abuse |
  8. John

    I am a fitness coach and I never criticize people who are overweight. It discourages them from setting fitness goals, which is much more important than simply losing weight. Some of my thin clients are less healthy than our heavier customers. Further, everyone knows emotional stress can cause people to overeat and take less exercise. One never knows what difficult problems another person is facing in his or her personal lives.

    August 5, 2010 at 19:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Rick

    That's why they invented "lap band".

    August 5, 2010 at 21:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • eyewatch70

      Lapband is a very dangerous procedure. It can lead to hemorraging, it can slip and cause a blockage, get infected, etc. Some people have so many complications that it must be removed.

      August 7, 2010 at 21:21 | Report abuse |
  10. Jacklin

    I have found the solution for them. No cardio, just a little workout 3 times a week, and follow my shopping list.

    You will thank me later!!!!

    August 5, 2010 at 21:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Kat

    The price for eating like a pig is huge....sorry, folks...your sense of entiltlement regarding your diet will kill you and us taxpayers who foot the bill. I watch my weight and diet like a hawk, but it's the price I pay for keeping my blood pressure, blood sugar, and joints healthy. Why should my tax dollars be spent on folks who don't care about being good stewards of their bodies? It shouldn't, but I have resigned myself to the fact that most Americans don't care about right and wrong...just about getting their selfish desires satisfied.

    August 5, 2010 at 22:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • eyewatch70

      Congrats Kat on being proactive!! I have been biking every day – and my blood pressure is now normal (I am very thin but still have normal/high blood pressure – I have a stressful job..). Everyone should take up biking – its the most relaxing exercise available – its outside, fun, and results come quick. it does take some time out of your day, but now I'm addicted. I started this to avoid taking pills but the side effect is I feel completely stress free afterwards, feel stronger, and have more energy. Everyone should get their old bike out of the garage.. Go out and play!!

      August 7, 2010 at 21:26 | Report abuse |
  12. Ruggy

    A documented side effect of aspartame (Nutrasweet) consumption is weight gain. Seriously.

    Obese people drink far more diet pop, thinking they will lose weight, but it has the opposite effect.

    It also causes cancer, since it breaks down into formaldehyde and other bad things almost immediately after ingestion.

    August 6, 2010 at 02:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Peter Klika

    Obese people will bankrupt our medical system because they refuse to eat simple, natural foods in reasonable proportions. Instead they blame their out of contol eating on "genes", being "big boned", non-existent "hormonal disorders", etc. I'm not talking about the 1% who genuinely cannot lose weight for legitimate medical reason. As for the remaining 99%: PUT DOWN THE JUNK FOOD< EAT NATURAL FOODS< AND STOP BLAMING EVERYBODY BUT YOU. You are jepardizing my access to healthcare because of your irresponsible habits. Peter Klika, Kapaau, Hawaii, Far from Waikiki.

    August 6, 2010 at 02:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Truth

    Fat cells store toxins. If these toxins are never released, they build up until they foment cancer.

    August 6, 2010 at 03:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Phil

    The problem is not lack of exercise, its the food and the amount of food eaten. Exercise is a plus but the problem is the fast food and pop crowd won't eat any real, un-processed food. i have two very overweight friends who have never ate a green vegetable or piece of fruit in their adult lives. They eat way too much meat/fats/sweets and processed food. Losing weight is really not that hard if your willing to drop the processed crap and switch to fruits and veggies.

    August 6, 2010 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Phil

    My two obese friends are raising a 10 year old girl. Guess what she eats. Chicken fingers, white bread, french fries and donuts and pop. THATS IT. I am not exagerating. That is her diet. Mom taught her well. She is 10 and already she is obese. I find it reprehensible what they are doing to that kid. She is set up for a lifetime of misery.

    August 6, 2010 at 08:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. sd

    So does this mean thin people don't ever get cancer? what about Patrick swayze and Farrah Fawcett? they have been slim all their lives and they both died of cancer. Is losing weight a cure for cancer? Smoking almost causes cancer, yet there seems to be a focus on the obese. Just because a person is thin does not mean they are healthy.

    August 6, 2010 at 08:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Waterfalls

    The reason it's a risk for cancer is that fat cells produce hormones. Tumor growth is fueled by estrogen (among others.) But you can be VERY healthy and fit and still have unbalanced hormones, due to genetics and hormone disruptors. There should be no judging, just empathy and trying to help others.

    August 6, 2010 at 09:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Kerry

    Obesity is bad for you period!!! Whether or not it causes cancer!

    August 6, 2010 at 09:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Eric

    Studies show that lower income people are fatter. The food that gets the most bang for the buck for lower income people is the fast food drive through window and other outlets for junk foods containing genetically modified food ingredients like corn and soybeans. Eating right can be very expensive. 99 cent chicken sandwiches are very tempting on the wallet.

    There have never been exhaustive studies done in this country on the long term effects of genetically modified food ingredients. The foods containing those ingredients are not labeled in America like they must be in Europe. The corn itself is genetically modified to produces its own pesticide to ward of insect invaders. The insects die when they eat the corn. Who's to say that the same process isn't causing cancer problems in us. The GM corn is in a huge majority of our junk foods. The corn production is government subsidized. It is cheaper for manufacturers to buy than it is to produce. Therefore it's in everything.

    Just saying.

    August 6, 2010 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Durden

    Hi, i would a hint by you guys: is this product a good herbs to lose weight?

    August 6, 2010 at 10:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Bob

    The numbers in the article for fraction of new cancers attributed to each of the 3 cancer types add up to a number greater than 100 percent (113 percent to be exact) and these 3 cancers may well not account for all the additional cancers expected. Have the facts been checked?

    August 6, 2010 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. nanobot

    The recent study by UCLA has shown fructose promotes cancer cell growth. As you know, fructose is added to foods instead of sucrose by the food industry because the government pays the farmers to grow corn. That is, the tax payers pay them to grow corn. This is a corporate system whereby investors can make money off of futures. Anyway, fructose has a profound effect on the metabolism of cells whereby it increases glycolysis (chewing up of sugar) at the same time as increasing the production of chemical messengers that control cell proliferation. That's lingo for saying making the cells grow faster and faster. This link has been known since at least 2002 and pharmaceutical companies have been trying to devise cancer drugs around this replication switch. At any rate, when the glycolysis (chewing up of sugar) is going full tilt the hexose system is inhibited and this stops the production of glutathione, and we want a lot of glutathione to prevent cancer. Glutathione takes down the free radicals that are formed from defective cellular respiration and sun damage as well as heavy metal contamination, in order to protect DNA. Autistics have low glutathione because it also produces pathways in neurotransmitter creation, as a methyl donor. Glutathione is critical in multiple roles. Fructose ruins it. That's the mechanism. 🙂

    August 6, 2010 at 20:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Say_Yes!


    August 8, 2010 at 10:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Dr. Ann

    There is a relationship between Autism and Aspartame. The Senate is determining what correlates with Autism. For the Senate Hearing on Autism going on this month, it may be beneficial to know that along with Mercury and other contaminations in the environment, Aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal) has also been linked to Autism.
    See the chart at http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?read=180197, which shows the timeline of Autism rates with Aspartame product approval and usage rates. Europe has banned the use of Aspartame for pregnant and nursing women as well as children. The countries where Aspartame has been banned or never accepted, their Autism rate is only a small fraction of the U.S. rate. Since Aspartame has been approved in 1981, and placed in soft drinks in 1986, the Autism rate has skyrocketed. The Aspartame notes page explains just a few studies on how Aspartame has been linked with brain disorders.
    Some Main Points:
    Dr. Olney warned of the damage that this product would do to the unborn and to children. He said that the FDA acknowledged “aspartame had been shown to induce brain damage in neonatal animals” but FDA dismissed the neurotoxicity as irrelevant on grounds that the approved uses of aspartame don’t include feeding it to newborn humans. Yet aspartame can be found in prescription and over-the-counter pediatric drugs and in pediatric vitamins. Nursing babies receive this poison from mothers who breastfeed. The recent plague of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, and birth defects manifest the neurologic devastations of aspartame. Supporting this view, Dr. Louis Elsas, Emory Professor of Pediatrics and Genetics, testified in a congressional hearing that aspartame is a teratogen (causes birth defects) and a neurotoxin.
    Aspartame is a teratogen that triggers birth defects. It is a deadly neurotoxin (Dr. Louis Elsas testimony before congress, pediatric professor,genetics). Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D. says aspartame triggers ADD and autism.

    August 9, 2010 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply

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