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New study links obesity to higher risk of developing common cancers

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A new study suggests that obesity is linked to a higher risk of developing several types of cancer.

Healthcare professionals throughout the world suggest that being obese or overweight has many disadvantages as it is also responsible for other medical conditions like heart diseases, type 2 diabetes and several forms of cancer. Around one in every three people in the world is considered to be overweight and around one third of the U.S. population is obese.

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine suggest that obesity leads to more than 12,000 cancer cases in the UK, which may increase even more in the coming years. If a person is obese or overweight, then there are 60 percent chances that the individual may get some other form of disease.

The researchers say that they gathered data of over 5 million people in the UK and around 170,000 had developed cancer. They reveal that a person's body mass index (BMI), which is a measure of the fat level in the body, was related to about 17 out of 22 cancer cases.

"It's a huge study, and has analysed more data than any previous research. This is important as it gives us really strong evidence about how BMI affects cancer risk. But the really interesting findings came when the team looked in detail at how risk changed as BMI increased," per a Cancer Research UK blog.

Dr. Krishnan Bhaskaran, the lead researcher of the study says that it is known by government agencies throughout the world that obesity may cause diabetes and heart diseases. However, the study also reveals that obesity leads to increase in BMI, which may then result in several forms of cancer.

"We estimated that a 1 kg/m2 population-wide increase in BMI would result in 3790 additional annual UK patients developing one of the ten cancers positively associated with BMI," per the study.

Dr. Bhaskaran and his team highlight that obesity is associated with 10 different types of cancers, which includes breast cancer, cervical cancer and leukemia to name a few. Around 41 percent of womb cancer patients are said to be overweight. Around 10 percent of gall bladder, liver, kidney and colon cancer cases are linked to obesity.

Researchers suggest that a healthy weight decreases the risk of cancer. A person can have healthy weight by adopting a balanced diet and regular exercise regime. 

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