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Obesity cancer threat to female health

Monday September 24th, 2018

Obesity will become the main cause of cancer in women by the middle of the century, campaigners warned today.

Smoking is currently the leading cause of cancer in women – reflecting high rates of smoking among women in the late 20th century.

Cancer Research UK warned that the present obesity “epidemic” would eventually cause more cancer than tobacco.

Obesity will overtake smoking in about 17 years’ time, it warned, when both problems will be responsible for between 9 and 10% of cases of cancer. Currently smoking is blamed for 12% of cases of female cancer and weight for 7.5% of cases.

It warned that obesity has a bigger effect on female risk than men as it contributes to risk of breast and uterine cancer.

Professor Linda Baud, from Cancer Research UK, said: “Obesity is a huge public health threat right now, and it will only get worse if nothing is done. The UK Government must build on the lessons of smoking prevention to reduce the number of weight-related cancers by making it easier to keep a healthy weight and protect children, as those who are overweight are five times more likely to be so as an adult.”

She added: “The decline in smoking is a cause for celebration. It shows how decades of effort to raise awareness about the health risks plus strong political action including taxation, removing tobacco marketing and a ban on smoking in indoor public places, have paid off.

“But, just as there is still more to do to support people to quit smoking, we also need to act now to halt the tide of weight-related cancers and ensure this projection never becomes a reality.”

Dr Max Davie, from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, added: “Chapter two of the Government’s childhood obesity plan rightly focuses on prevention and if proposals are implemented, this plan will pave the way to better child health. However, in the meantime, we still require investment in services to treat those children who are already overweight or obese.

“Only with this two-pronged approach will we prevent the next generation of obese children and reduce the likelihood of people who are overweight or obese now, going on to develop cancer.”

Tags: Cancer | Diet & Food | Drug & Alcohol Abuse | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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