Link Between Cancer and Obesity Examined

Obesity and Cancer

Obesity and Cancer

A new study has reaffirmed the link between obesity and cancer.

The study, published in the Lancet Journal, reaffirms that a high body-mass index of 25 kg/m2 or greater is associated with increased risk of cancer. Researchers believe that in 2012 nearly 500,000 cases of cancer were attributable to high BMI around the world. The vast majority of these obesity related cancers occur in the United States and Europe, because of the higher levels of obesity found in those locations.

Women were more likely to be affected by cancer relating to obesity, particularly breast cancer. The most common forms of cancer caused by obesity were corpus uteri, postmenopausal breast, and colon cancers. These forms accounted for 63ยท6% of cancers and are attributable to high BMI.

The research looked at cancer rates in over 184 countries and found that obesity was associated with 5.4 percent of cancer in women and 1.9 percent in men during 2012. Those percentages are higher in developed countries with excess weight causing 8 percent of cancers in women and 3 percent in men.

The cancer rates were lowest in parts of Africa, due to lower calorie intake.

According to the researchers:

These findings emphasise the need for a global effort to abate the increasing numbers of people with high BMI. Assuming that the association between high BMI and cancer is causal, the continuation of current patterns of population weight gain will lead to continuing increases in the future burden of cancer.

Cancer Rates in September 11 Responders Rising

September 11 Cancer Victims

September 11 Cancer Victims

The New York Times reports that cancer rates amongst many of the first responders on September 11 terrorist attack continue to rise.

Over 2500 rescuers who went to ground zero have some form of cancer develop. Unfortunately many of these people have not been compensated for their illness.

Only last year the rate of cancer in first responders was half that many. The massive increase is due to the time it takes for various forms of cancer to develop, and greater awareness of the cancer risk for those that worked at the site.

Many types of personnel attended the 911 disaster site in various roles including firemen, police, EMTs, city employees, construction workers and sanitation workers.

Some of the workers have received pay outs for their cancer, but many appear to have fallen between the cracks. The sad fact is that many of the legal cases involved take years to complete but the cancers involved are often aggressive and kill quickly. Some of the people involved have pancreatic and lung cancer, both extremely aggressive cancers.

The federal 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund has paid out $50 million so far, to 115 cancer patients. With more than 2500 now being diagnosed with cancer, much more money will be required to pay those who risked their lives working on the 911 site.

Some of the cancer prevalent in 911 site workers include: prostate cancer, leukemia, myeloma and thyroid cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer Rate Continues to Rise

Pancreatic Cancer Increasing

Pancreatic Cancer Increasing

According to new research published in the American Association for Cancer Research journal pancreatic cancer will continue to rise in the coming decades. The report suggests by 2030 the top cancer killers will be lung cancer, pancreas cancer and liver cancer.

Currently the most dangerous cancer is lung cancer, with breast cancer holding the second spot for women and prostate cancer holding the second spot for men. Colorectal cancer comes in third currently.

The research paper looked at current cases of each form of cancer and the death rates for each form of cancer. Then it looked at demographic changes in the United States to determine which cancers will be more prevalent and dangerous in the future.

Thanks to improved cancer screening and treatment options, the overall cancer rate has been decreasing in recent decades. While some forms of cancer like breast, colon and prostate are expected to continue declining, the researchers suggest bladder, liver, pancreatic and leukaemia cancers will rise.

According to Dr. Otis Brawley, the chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, pancreatic cancer has been rising over the last 15 years as most other forms of cancer decline. Doctors in the United Kingdom have been seeing similar results as pancreatic cancer rises.

Dr. Otis Brawley suggests: “Many Americans are not aware that the combination of obesity, high-caloric intake and lack of physical activity is the second-leading cause of cancer in the U.S.”. Brawley says that 12 forms of cancer are linked to obesity and that is a huge problem for the United States more so than other parts of the world like Europe.

Because the United States has so many baby boomers and so many are overweight, these cancers are going to increase fairly quickly. Researchers suggest that the total number of cancer cases will reach 2.1 million in 2030, up from 1.5 million in 2010. Additionally because so many people are living longer that also means cancer risk is greater for these forms of cancer.

The shift in prevalence of these forms of cancer may mean governments, charities and research bodies may need to shift their focus. Currently breast, prostate, lung and colorectal cancers receive the most funding because they are the most common forms of cancer. They will still be the most common forms of cancer, but breast, prostate and colorectal will be killing less than pancreatic and liver cancer.

That means in the coming years various bodies will have to shift their focus. From the top 4 most common cancers, it is expected that by 2030 colorectal will fall behind thyroid, melanoma and uterine cancers in terms of the total number of cases.

Thankfully an increased emphasis on early screening has helped reduce the death rate from colorectal cancers also. While the increase in thyroid cancer is alarming, it is typically not a very dangerous form of cancer. Pancreatic cancer on the other hand only has a 6% survival rate 5 years after diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer can also be difficult to diagnose because of the surrounding tissue in the body. By the time most pancreatic cancers are diagnosed they are inoperable, so it is one area of research that drastically needs a funding increase.

Pancreatic Cancer on the Rise in the UK

Pancreatic Cancer on the Rise

Pancreatic Cancer on the Rise

The number of people presenting with pancreatic cancer is on the rise in the UK according to new research, and many patients are being forced to seek treatment overseas. Pancreatic Cancer is the 5th most deadly cancer, so the increase is of great concern to physicians and researchers. If the growth continues, some researchers suggest that it may overtake breast cancer by 2030.

Many patients have begun seeking tests and treatment in other countries due to a delay in diagnosis in England, where patients are sometimes only informed of the cancer when it has reached an advanced stage. Part if this may be due to hospitals in countries like Germany being less risk adverse, so able to perform surgery for pancreatic cancer at an earlier stage. In some other European countries patients can also have their insurer pay for surgery at an earlier stage, at a stage where diagnosis is not confirmed in English hospitals.

The condition kills about 8000 people every year in England, and experts are calling for an improvement in the speed of diagnosis and willingness to perform surgery for the condition at an early stage. Unlike many other cancers, the survival rates for Pancreatic cancer have not improved in the last few decades, and despite 20% of patients potentially benefiting from surgery, only 10% are being operated on.

In England, most patients see their GP between 4 and 6 times before they are referred to a hospital for more detailed examination and diagnosis. In many other EU countries, patients only need to see their GP 3-4 times before they are sent to the hospital for more conclusive tests. In England the condition is more likely to be misdiagnosed as chronic back pain or ulcers.

One way patients can eliminate the risk of pancreatic cancer at an earlier stage is to request a CT scan early on. However depending on the insurance of the patient there may be additional costs involved. An early CT scan can spot lesions on the pancreas, an early sign of pancreatic cancer.

Unfortunately, even with surgery the prognosis is not good for this kind of cancer, with only 4% of patients surviving past 5 years after surgery. One piece of good news is that there are more specialist pancreatic surgeons now, who deal with the required surgeries on a regular basis, improving survival rates gradually.

Researchers have also stated that there needs to be an improvement in the kinds of drugs made available for pancreatic cancer. While there is a great deal of research into breast cancer, pancreatic cancer has not seen as much progress.