Study cites obesity as leading in cancer risk

Cancer Research UK said in UK alone, obesity is responsible for 1,400 more cases of kidney cancer as reported by The Guardian. [Courtesy]
Obese people are at higher risk of cancer than smokers who are fit, a new study has found.

According to findings from a UK-based organisation, if compared to smoking, obesity is responsible for more cases of kidney, liver, ovarian, and cancers of the large and small intestines.

Cancer Research UK said in UK alone, obesity is responsible for 1,400 more cases of kidney cancer as reported by The Guardian.

Weight problems are said to be behind 460 more cases of ovarian cancer and 180 more cases of liver cancer compared to smoking.

The organisation’s Chief Officer Michelle Mitchelle said while the cases can be attributed to the drop in the number of people smoking as a result of vigorous campaigns, it has unearthed another predicament on obesity and its health risks.

“Our children could be a smoke-free generation, but we’ve hit a devastating record high for childhood obesity, and now we need urgent Government intervention to end the epidemic. They still have a chance to save lives,” she said.

Bowel cancer

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According to the organisation, obesity is behind 22,800 cases of cancer every year. Of the 42,000 new cases of bowel cancer, obesity is responsible for 4,800 while smoking is cited for 2,900.

For kidney cancer, with a record of 12,900 cases annually, obesity causes 2,900 while smoking causes 1,600. For cancer of the liver with an estimated 5,900 cases, obesity is responsible for 1,300 while smoking causes 1,200.

At least 490 cases of ovarian cancer are caused by obesity compared to 25 by smoking, of the 7,500 cases reported annually.

Dr Rosslyn Ngugi, a lecturer at Mt Kenya University and a specialist in internal medicine, said obesity should be treated as an illness. “Apart from smoking, obesity is the number one preventable cause of death. At least 300,000 people die annually from obesity."

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Obese peopleCancer Research UKBowel cancerChief Officer Michelle MitchelleSmoking