This, believe it or not, increases your risk of developing cancer by 40 percent–if you’re a woman.
Most women struggle to lower this risk, however, with new reports saying this risk factor continues to rise.
So what is it? It’s obesity, say experts from Cancer Research UK.
“We know that our cancer risk depends on a combination of our genes, our environment and other aspects of our lives, many of which we can control–helping people understand how they can reduce their risk of developing cancer in the first place remains crucial in tackling the disease,” says Julie Sharp, head of health information at Cancer Research UK. “Lifestyle changes–like not smoking, keeping a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and cutting back on alcohol–are the big opportunities for us all to personally reduce our cancer risk.”
According to new statistics reported by the organization, cancer rates have continued to climb–and with that, rates of obesity in women as well. In England alone, a whopping 57 percent of women are either overweight or obese, with 25 percent meeting the criteria for clinical obesity. The news fares even worse for women in Scotland as well: Their obesity rate rises to 28 percent.
This, experts say, raises the risk of several cancers, including bowel, breast, gallbladder, kidney, esophageal, and pancreatic cancer.
“Incidence of some overweight- and obesity-related cancers including uterine, kidney and bowel cancer is increasing, at least partly due to increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity,” write Cancer Research UK experts. “Cancer incidence is expected to rise further if current trends in overweight and obesity prevalence persist.”
As for ways to fight it, even experts admit it’s an uphill battle. Making gradual changes to your eating and exercise habits could make a big difference, however.
“Losing weight isn’t easy, but you don’t have to join a gym and run miles every day or give up your favourite [sic] food forever,” says Sharp. “Just making small changes that you can maintain in the long term can have a real impact. To get started try getting off the bus a stop earlier and cutting down on fatty and sugary foods. Losing weight takes time so gradually build on these to achieve a healthier lifestyle that you can maintain.”
But if that doesn’t help, Sharp makes another recommendation: Find support. Weight loss groups, communities, or even recruiting the help of a nutritionist are all essential for fighting the battle against obesity.
While this won’t completely eliminate your risk of cancer, it can reduce it by nearly 40 percent.
“Making these changes is not a guarantee against cancer, but it stacks the odds in our favour [sic].”
Readers: Have you been obese or are currently obese? If so, what are the major issues you face?