Losing weight and maintaining a healthy physique have been proven to dramatically improve one's quality of life. Now, cancer prevention has also been linked to weight loss. Researchers have found that losing weight can significantly reduce risks of developing certain cancers.
In a study that covered more than 5 million people, researchers found that, in Britain, obesity is linked to over 12,000 new cancer cases per year. Findings showed every five-point increase in the body mass index (BMI) carries a 62 percent risk of developing uterus cancer and 25 percent risk of developing kidney cancer.
"One of the ways being overweight increases the risk of cancer lies in the fact that excess fat doesn't just sit around your middle doing nothing — it produces hormones, one of which is estrogen," said National Health Service (NHS) consultant and weight loss expert Sally Norton.
Norton added that post-menopause, fats become the main source of estrogen. Overweight women have higher chances of developing estrogen-stimulated tumors. Moreover, excess fat increases the risk of breast cancer and lowers the effectiveness of treatments. More than 41 percent of womb cancer cases are linked to obesity, said Norton.
On the other hand, overweight men have higher chances of developing colon and liver cancers. People with greater waist to hip ratios and increased insulin levels have higher chances of developing colon cancer.
"Fatty liver disease can, in some cases, proceed to cirrhosis, which is a risk factor for liver cancer," explained Norton. Other cancers linked to obesity include cancers of the kidney, thyroid, gallbladder and pancreas.
Early detection is essential. Here are some warning signs to look out for. While some of these symptoms might be an indication of other medical conditions, keeping track of bodily changes can lead to early detection.
--Unexplained and unusual bleeding between menstrual periods
--Aggravating indigestion or acid reflux
--Unusual change in breathing and voice quality; neck lump
--Physical change in breast appreciation. Changes monitored during regular self-exams
--Unexplained weight loss and stomach pain.
By staying informed about the links between obesity and cancer, people may look at weight loss from a different perspective. Instead of just focusing on aesthetic goals, weight loss can be used to transform one's health, even for those who are not obese or who don't carry a family history of cancer. When weight loss is done for the right reasons, it can offer empowerment, instead of being merely an obligation.