This Is How Excess Weight Can Trigger the Growth of Cancer Cells

This is how excessive weight can trigger the growth of cancer cells
Obesity affects hormone levels and inflammation in the body and can contribute to precancerous conditions such as fatty liver disease.

It is quite obvious that supplementing an extra weight can make you feel slow, affect your self-esteem and expose you to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. But more and more, researchers are also making links between obesity and cancer - several different types of cancer, in fact.

Cancer is caused by mutations in cells, which cause the growth of these cells and multiply at unnatural levels. Many cases of cancer occur because of genetic traits, or purely because of chance. But for others, obesity can be an important factor.

"We know that a third of cancers are associated with our lifestyle behaviors, such as what we consume, how much we exercise, and collectively our weight," says Melinda Irwin, Ph.D., Director of Prevention And cancer control at Yale University. "And obesity is now the main modifiable risk factor, even before smoking, which is associated with cancer risk and mortality."

How does obesity promote cancer growth?

High levels of long-term inflammation - the response of the immune system to injury, disease or other disorders in the body - have shown that the fuel growth of cancer cells. "And we know that obesity is essentially a chronic inflammatory condition," says Irwin.

Not only can obesity trigger inflammation; So that some of the dietary behaviors that lead to weight gain in the first place, such as high-sugar diets and high-fat. Having too much fat around the belly, regardless of body mass index, also increases inflammation in the body.

Some cancers are also linked to sex hormones like estrogen. The bodies of women produce estrogen in their adipose cells, especially after menopause. "The higher levels of body fat you have, the higher levels of estrogen," says Irwin.

Then there is the way in which obesity contributes to insulin resistance - a condition in which the body loses its sensitivity to the hormone and can not respond normally. This can lead to excess levels of insulin and insulin-related growth hormones in the body, which has been linked to cell proliferation and several types of cancer.

What cancers are linked to obesity?

Studies have shown that overweight or obesity is clearly linked to an increased risk of several cancers, including uterine (endometrial), colorectal, esophageal, renal, pancreatic and post-menopausal cancers. "The strongest is probably cancer of the uterus," says Irwin. "There is probably a six-fold higher risk of dying from uterine cancer in those with a high BMI compared to those with a low BMI."

It has also been associated with an increased risk of liver cancer - a cancer whose rates have tripled in the United States since the 1970s. Obesity is a risk factor for non-alcoholic liver disease, which can be caused by Cirrhosis of the liver and, in extreme cases, liver cancer.

Several genes influence the likelihood of developing a fatty liver disease, but a recent study in Nature Genetics found that people with high-risk gene variants were much more likely to get the disease if they were obese than if they Were normal weight.

Studies have found less direct association between obesity and other cancers, including the gallbladder, cervical cancer, ovaries and prostate, as well as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma, but research suggests That it could also play a role in these diseases.

How to protect yourself

Maintaining a healthy weight, or losing weight if you wish, can reduce your risk of cancer and die of cancer if you get it. "It's really weight loss that seems to be so important, rather than following a specific diet or making sure you eat a specific food.

Watching your calories and making healthy food choices can be the most effective way to get rid of unwanted pounds, but Irwin stresses that exercise is also crucial, especially for the elderly and middle aged. "As we age, we lose bone mass and muscle mass, which affects the metabolic rate," she says. Exercise can protect muscles and bones, and helps fight inflammation better than simple diets.

"What I would say to the general public, or anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, is that preventing weight gain as we age or try to promote weight loss if you are overweight is One of the most important things you can do, "he said. Irwin. "This will greatly change your risk of cancer and, especially, for overall mortality."