As waist grows, so does cancer risk

U. LEEDS (UK)— Carrying extra weight around the waist raises the risk of bowel cancer, new research finds.

The study updates the findings of a landmark 2007 report, which found convincing evidence that being overweight increases bowel cancer risk.

The new research, carried out for the World Cancer Research Fund, by scientists from the University of Leeds and Imperial College London, shows that abdominal fatness—fat around the waist—is particularly harmful for bowel cancer, even in people who are close to normal weight or only moderately overweight.

“This latest study adds to the already strong evidence that carrying excess body fat increases your risk of cancer,” says Martin Wideman, medical and scientific advisor for the WCRF.

“In fact, scientists now say that, after not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the most important thing you can do for cancer prevention.

About 38,500 cases of bowel cancer are diagnosed in the UK every year.

The latest findings have further strengthened the evidence that being overweight is an important risk factor for bowel cancer. The aim, the study says, is for people aim to be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.

“We estimate that more than 2,700 cases of bowel cancer a year in the UK could be prevented through people maintaining a healthy weight, Wideman says.

“But as well as confirming the link between body fat and bowel cancer, this study has strengthened the evidence that where we carry the fat is also important. This means that people who do have a large waist should consider losing weight even if they are in the normal BMI range.”

“This study indicates that people should pay attention to the abdominal fatness even in they are in the normal range of weight, and it confirms that being overweight increases risk of this type of cancer, says Teresa Norat, the lead researcher for the study.

“This study gives us a better picture on how body fat affects risk of bowel cancer. More research is needed to understand how abdominal fatness can be prevented in both normal and overweight individuals.”

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