Maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial mentally and emotionally as well as physically. Excess weight is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many other serious health problems. In addition, statistics show that obesity presents the strongest cancer risk of any lifestyle factors.
The Link between Cancer and Lifestyle
According to the World Cancer Research Fund, 20 percent of cancer cases in the United States are at least partially attributable to one or more of these lifestyle factors:
- Lack of physical activity
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Inadequate nutrition
Out of these four elements, excess body weight contributes to 20 percent of all cancer-related deaths.
How Excess Weight Affects Cancer Risk
Excess body fat creates a number of imbalances that can lead to the development or growth of cancer cells, such as:
- Interference with the immune system response
- Skewed levels of hormones, as well as the proteins that help the body process them
- Improper levels of substances that control cell growth
Does Weight Loss Help?
While studies regarding weight loss and cancer are still limited, growing evidence suggests that it can reduce the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer and more aggressive forms of prostate cancer. Ongoing tests are examining the relationship between weight loss and other forms of cancer.
The weight per se is not the contributing factor. It’s the physical changes weight loss brings, such as normalizing hormone levels that help reduce cancer risk.
Immunotherapy for Cancer Includes Lifestyle Considerations