A recent study correlates a high BMI, along with an increased waist circumference and type 2 diabetes mellitus, with an increased risk of developing liver cancer.
The body mass index (BMI) of a person describes the function of a body in terms of height and mass. It is defined as the body mass divided by the square of the body height, and it's universally expressed in units of kg/m2, resulting from mass in kilograms and height in meters.
As liver cancer has almost tripled in the U.S. since the 1970s, the prospects for current and future patients doesn't look promising, according to Peter Campbell, strategic Digestive System Cancer Research at the American Cancer Society.
"We found that each of these three factors was associated, robustly, with liver cancer risk. All three relate to metabolic dysfunction. This adds substantial support to liver cancer being on the list of obesity-associated cancers," explains Campbell.
He adds that the research represents an extra reason to warn the U.S. population to keep their weights within normal ranges, not to mention liver cancer is associated with more than just the quantity of alcohol and viral hepatitis, and it can be traced down to weight and BMI. Moreover, Campbell argues that the research is consistent with other papers previously published on the subject, suggesting that liver cancer's fast growth rate can be linked to obesity and diabetes.
The team of researchers analyzed data from 1.57 million adults from 14 distinct prospective studies in the U.S. As part of the surveys, the participants were asked to complete basic information such as height, weight, alcohol intake, tobacco use and other factors that could lead to cancer risk. None of the participants had cancer when enrolling in the studies.
When the team compared the results as they developed in time, there was 38 and 25 percent more risk to develop liver cancer in both men and women for each 5kg/m2 increase in BMI, and 8 percent for every 5 centimeters more in the waist circumference.
Diabetes was diagnosed in 6.5 percent of the 1.57 million people who participated to this study, and 2,162 of the respondents developed liver cancer in the future. The scientists double-checked these parameters in the study to make sure there is no fake correlation in the data.
Approximately eight people in 100,000 will develop liver cancer throughout a year, according to Campbell. For patients who suffer from type 2 diabetes, the risks more than double. The study raises an alarm for public health reasons. Linking these diseases in population represents a chance for adults to prevent these tendencies.
The study is featured in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.