Overweight and Obesity Linked to Cancer

The findings of a new study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine suggest that people who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of cancer.

“Obesity is associated with metabolic abnormalities that predispose patients to increased cancer risk. Contemporary data on the long‐term risk of specific cancers are sparse among patients with hospital‐diagnosed overweight and obesity,” the researchers wrote in their abstract.

In this 40-year nationwide cohort study, researchers evaluated participants after reviewing medical databases to identify individuals with hospital‐based overweight and obesity diagnoses. Subsequently, and gender‐standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) for subsequent cancer compared to the general population.

According to the results of the study, the researchers observed 20,706 cancers among 313,321 patients diagnosed with overweight and obesity compared to the 18,48- cancers expected with an SIR of 1.12 (95% CI, 1.11 to 1.14). They found that the SIR with overweight and obesity was associated with increased concomitant comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes, and alcohol-related diseases. 

Moreover, according to the researchers the “SIR was 1.31 (95% CI, 1.28 to 1.34) for cancers previously identified as obesity-related, including pancreatic (SIR=1.38; 95% CI, 1.27 to 1.49) and postmenopausal breast cancer (SIR= 1.14; 95% CI, 1.09 to 1.19). Obesity/overweight status also elevated the SIRs for hematological (SIR=1.24; 95 CI%, 1.18 to 1.29) and neurological cancers (SIR=1.19; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.27). In contrast, SIRs were 1.01 (95% CI, 0.97 to 1.05) for immune-related cancers, 0.88 (95% CI, 0.82 to 0.95) for malignant melanoma, and 0.88 (95% CI, 0.85 to 0.92) for hormone-related cancers, other than postmenopausal breast cancer.”