Obesity can lead to cancer, say doctors

Many preventive methods for obesity-related malignancies were suggested by Dr Tausif and the initial step was to lose weight

Obesity can lead to cancer, say doctors

HYDERABAD: Obesity has been linked to the development of 13 distinct forms of cancer. Obese or very obese individuals are 1.5 to 4 times more likely to develop cancer of the oesophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, colorectal, gallbladder, kidney, and thyroid.

Dr. Tausif Ahmed Thangalvadi, Medical Director of NURA, a collaboration between Fujifilm Healthcare and Dr Kutty's Healthcare offering AI-enabled imaging in Bengaluru, said this while emphasising significant findings from an International Agency for Research on Cancer Working Group document (IARC).

"Research has indicated that obese women are more likely than non-obese women to develop reproductive organ malignancies such as endometrial (4-7 times the risk), breast cancer (1.5 times), and ovarian cancer" (1.1 times). Breast cancer and colon cancer are the most frequent obesity-related cancers in women and men, with a 30 percent increased risk when compared to non-obese people. According to a 2019 global study, obesity-related malignancies accounted for roughly 4% of the global cancer burden," said Dr. Tausif Ahmed Thangalvadi.

The link between fat and cancer was concerning, given that India was in the grip of an obesity pandemic, with approximately 7 crore individuals suffering from morbid obesity.

According to a 2015 ICMR-INDIAB study, the prevalence of obesity in India ranges from 12 to 30 percent, with central obesity ranging from 16 to 36 percent. India was expected to have 2.7 crore obese children by 2030, according to UNICEF's World Obesity Atlas 2022.

"There are several ways in which obesity can increase the risk of cancer. Fat tissue in the human body produces extra oestrogen, which increases the risk of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer in women. Obese people with high levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) are more likely to develop colorectal, renal, and prostate cancer. Obesity also increases the risk of cancer by causing chronic inflammation and oxidative stress in tissues", said Dr. Tausif Ahmed Thangalvadi.

"Over the previous two years, we at NURA have screened more than 6,000 healthy asymptomatic patients. Almost 70 percent had visceral fat levels above the recommended threshold of 100 cm, with nearly half having severe obesity with visceral fat levels exceeding 160 cm. "Men were twice as likely as women to have extra visceral fat," he added.

Many preventive methods for obesity-related malignancies were suggested by Dr Tausif and the initial step was to lose weight. According to a 2019 study published in the JNCI cancer spectrum journal, those who reduced 5 percent of their body weight had a considerably lower risk of obesity-related cancer, particularly endometrial cancer.

"The same was discovered for breast cancer in a 2020 study. Another 2019 study revealed that people who had bariatric surgery for morbid obesity had a decreased risk of getting breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and regular screening for obesity and cancer can all help reduce the risk of obesity and cancer," Dr. Tausif Ahmed Thangalvad explained.

NURA provides a variety of screening tests not only for cancer but also for obesity. NURA detects several types of cancers early using a combination of ultra-low dose CT scans, tumour markers, and procedures such as mammography, colposcopy, and the FIT kit, including lung, colorectal, oral, prostate, liver, kidney, pancreas, breast, cervix, and ovarian cancers.

NURA utilizes an ultra-low dose CT scan to properly assess visceral fat in patients suffering from obesity. It also employs the DEXA scan to determine fat-muscle ratio and distribution, providing clients with critical information to help them focus on their exercise and fat-loss strategies.

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