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June 29, 2012

Weight Loss Lowers Cancer Risk

Weight Loss and Cancer RiskLower your cancer risk by losing weight. Forty-five percent of men and 38% of women will get cancer. But, many of these cancers are preventable as 25% of cancers are related to lifestyle factors such as being sedentary and overweight. According to the American Cancer Society 1,638,910 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2012 and 577,190 individuals will die from cancer this year making cancer the second leading cause of death (heart disease is number one).

The good news is there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting cancer.  In “Exercise and Cancer” we discussed the important role of physical activity as a way lower the risk of cancer, but losing weight also improves the odds that you will avoid cancer.

Cancer Risk Related to Overweight

Some cancers are more strongly related to body weight than others and include:

  • Post-menopausal breast cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Colon cancer

Cancer Risk Inflammation Markers

Several inflammation markers that can readily be measured in the blood are linked to cancer. These markers include C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF).  A study on 439 women who exercised and lost weight reported a reduction in CRP of 42% and 23% drop in IL-6 levels. These reductions in inflammation marker associated with exercise and weight loss are greater than those seen with anti-inflammatory medicine.

Excessive body fat is also inflammatory so losing any weight is helpful in reducing the inflammatory load in the body. This particular study showed that exercise alone did not reduce inflammation, though some previous studies have shown a reduction in inflammation related to exercise.

Being overweight many times is associated insulin resistance and higher insulin levels. Insulin promotes inflammation and cancer cell growth. Losing weight and exercise can improve insulin resistance.

How to Lose Weight

We have several articles on weight loss and exercise on this site that you can read.  But, in a nutshell do the following:

  • Focus on a low-glycemic nutrition plan.
  • Exercise regularly – at least 5 days a week.
  • Perform aerobics, strength training, and high intensity interval training.  Be cleared by a physician first if you are at risk for heart disease.
  • Strive for optimal sex hormone and thyroid levels.  The importance of balanced hormones is frequently overlooked.
Life is about tipping the odds in your favor. When it comes to cancer there are action steps you can take to lower your cancer risk.  Are you going to take those steps, or simply be content to be another number in the cancer statistics?

See related articles.

“Exercise and Breast Cancer”

“It’s What’s Missing in the Diet that Matters in Weight Loss”

“Diet and Exercise are the Keys to Weight Loss”

 

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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