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Obesity link to UK throat cancer problem

Thursday October 16th, 2014

Britain has the highest rates in the world of a kind of throat cancer linked to obesity, according to the findings of a major international study today.

Adenocarcinoma represents a minority of cases of oesophageal cancer - which affects the gullet - but cases are growing rapidly in many countries, according to the new study.

Rates of the other form of the cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, may be falling - although it affects eight times as many people as adenocarcinoma.

The analysis was conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and reported in the journal Gut.

This showed 398,000 new cases of the squamous cell cancer in 2012 and 52,000 people affected by adenocarcinoma.

The squamous cell version of the disease is commonest in east and south east Asia, where 315,000 people contracted the disease, which can be caused by alcohol, tobacco, hot food and poor dental hygiene.

In contrast adenocarcinoma is most common in northern and western Europe - and accounting for age the UK had the highest rate of disease. It is linked to acid reflux, a problem which is linked to obesity.

The researchers report: "Worldwide, men are around four times as likely as women to develop the disease."

Global incidence of oesophageal cancer by histological subtype in 2012 Gut 16 October 2014; doi 10.1136/gutjnl-2014-308124 [abstract]

Tags: Asia | Cancer | Respiratory | UK News | World Health

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