Link Between Obesity and Cancer

September 18, 2016





You have read and heard for many years that being overweight or obese is not just a cosmetic problem. These conditions greatly raise your risk for multiple health problems.


Of course everybody knows about the increased risk for:

  • heart diseases, including heart attacks, angina and heart failure;

  • high blood pressure;

  • arrhythmia, like atrial fibrillation;

  • stroke;

  • high cholesterol;

  • diabetes mellitus;

  • sleep apnea;

  • arthritis;

  • gallstones;

  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (excess fat and inflammation in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol)

  • infertility, reproductive issues;

  • early death.


But recently published study highlighted another major problem associated with obesity: increased risk for cancers, including: stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, ovary, brain (meningioma), thyroid, and blood (multiple myeloma) in addition to earlier found links to a higher risk of colon, esophageal, kidney, breast, and uterus cancers. These findings were published in the August 25, 2016 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. 


For most of these cancers, the researchers found a positive dose-response relationship between excess weight and cancer risk. The higher the BMI (body mass index=weight to height ratio), the higher the individual’s risk of cancer. This increased risk may be related to the link between excess weight and the possible overproduction of estrogen, testosterone, and insulin by the body, as well as by increased inflammatory processes, all of which are known to fuel cancer growth.


These new findings may be of particular relevance in light of the fact that about 640 million adults and 110 million children worldwide are obese. In the United States accordingly to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2010:

  • more than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or obese.

  • more than 1 in 3 adults are considered to be obese

  • more than 1 in 20 adults are considered to have extreme obesity.

  • about one-third of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be overweight or obese,

  • more than 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be obese.

To fight this problem requires a comprehensive approach, that includes: diet, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications. The addition of appropriate supplements and sometimes prescription medications can be beneficial as well.


 Only a qualified well trained healthcare professional can help to design a plan geared toward any particular patient needs.


Doing it alone may not be as beneficial as you might think. Not all promoted on TV or online diets are as helpful as they promise.


An example is recently published 8-year Women's Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial, where 19,541 women were randomized into a low-fat diet group and 29,294 women were randomized into a control group. The results were very disappointing. Eating a low-fat diet did not affect rates of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, or colo-rectal cancer in the largest-ever long-term randomized trial of a dietary intervention in postmenopausal women. The study showed a small reduction in the rate of invasive breast cancer, but even that finding was not statistically significant.


Don't gamble, contact Dr. Val Koganski for in-depth evaluation of your needs at 215-750-7000 or





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