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How weight gain increases cancer risk

Monday November 7th, 2016

Men who put on significant weight as adults face an increased cancer risk compared with those who maintain their teenage weight, researchers report today.

The findings apply to those who start their adult life slim and those who are already overweight when they leave their teens, according to the findings to be reported to the National Cancer Research Institute conference in Liverpool, UK.

Men faced a 50% increased risk of developing cancer while women faced a 20% increased risk from the same level of weight gain, the study of some 300,000 Americans found.

The Manchester University researchers traced the cancer risk of people who went from a body mass index of 22 to one of 27 between the ages of 18 and 65 - equivalent to about three stone.

Men who went from overweight to morbidly obese faced a 53% increased risk compared with those who stayed overweight. But those whose BMI increased from 22 to 27 faced a similar increase in risk compared with those whose BMI stayed at 22.

Researcher Dr Hannah Lennon said: “This research shows how important it is to look at weight gain over a person’s lifetime – to give a clearer picture of cancer risk through life compared to assessing someone’s BMI at a single point."

Cancer Research UK chief executive Sir Harpal Kumar said: “This is a really interesting way to look at lifetime risk of obesity-related cancers and helps us understand the effects of weight gain over time."

Abstract: Lifetime BMI trajectories and obesity-related cancer risk in a US retrospective cohort study

Tags: Cancer | Diet & Food | Men's Health | UK News

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