Obesity ’causes more cases of some cancers than smoking

 

New figures from Cancer Research UK show that people who are obese now outnumber people who smoke two to one in the UK*, and excess weight causes more cases of certain cancers than smoking, as the charity urges Government action to tackle obesity.

Almost a third of UK adults are obese and, while smoking is still the nation’s biggest preventable cause of cancer and carries a much higher risk of the disease than obesity, Cancer Research UK’s analysis revealed that being overweight or obese trumps smoking as the leading cause of four different types of cancer.

Excess weight causes around 1,900 more cases of bowel cancer than smoking in the UK each year. The same worrying pattern is true of cancer in the kidneys (1,400 more cases caused by excess weight than by smoking each year in the UK), ovaries (460) and liver (180).

Cancer Research UK launched a nationwide campaign this week to increase awareness of the link between obesity and cancer. Extra body fat sends out signals that can tell cells to divide more often and, similar to smoking, can cause damage that builds up over time and raises the risk of cancer.

For more information go to the Cancer Research website

or visit the Obesity – NHS website

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