Being overweight or having obesity increases your risk of getting cancer.

Overweight person measuring their belly with tape measure

You may be surprised to learn that being overweight or having obesity is linked with a higher risk of getting 13 types of cancer. These cancers make up 40% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States each year.

Many things are associated with cancer, but avoiding tobacco use and keeping a healthy weight are two of the most important steps you can take to lower your risk of getting cancer.

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What Is Obesity?

obese woman vs slim girl

Weight that is higher than what is considered a healthy weight for a given height is called overweight or obesity.

Body mass index (BMI) is used as a screening tool for overweight and obesity. For adults, a person with a BMI from 25.0 to 29.9 is considered overweight. A person with a BMI that is 30.0 or higher has obesity.

Which Cancers Are Related to Obesity?

Being overweight and having obesity are linked with a higher risk of getting 13 kinds of cancer. These cancers include:

  1. Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.
  2. Breast (in women who have gone through menopause).
  3. Colon and rectum.
  4. Uterus.
  5. Gallbladder.
  6. Upper stomach.
  7. Kidneys.
  8. Liver.
  9. Ovaries.
  10. Pancreas.
  11. Thyroid.
  12. Meningioma (a type of brain cancer).
  13. Multiple myeloma.

Other risk factors can also contribute to these cancers. Some of these risk factors are hormone levels, changes (called mutations) in genes, long-lasting infections, and tobacco and alcohol use. Being overweight or having obesity doesn’t mean that someone will definitely get cancer. But it does mean that they are more likely to get cancer than if they kept a healthy weight.

How Can Obesity Cause Cancer?

Being overweight and obese can cause changes in the body that help lead to cancer. These changes can include long-lasting inflammation and higher than normal levels of insulin, insulin-like growth factor, and sex hormones. The risk of cancer increases with the more excess weight a person gains and the longer a person is overweight.


How Can I Lower My Risk?

You can achieve a healthy weight by making healthy lifestyle choices. You can reduce your risk of obesity-related cancer by following a healthy eating plan and getting regular physical activity.

If weight is something you’ve struggled with for many years and take medicine to treat medical conditions caused by excess weight, you might be a candidate for bariatric surgery or surgical weight loss. This is a boost for the healthy lifestyle that is required to lower your risk for cancer and other life-altering diseases. Talk to your doctor today about whether you’re a good candidate.

Bariatric Surgery: Its Benefits and Risks

Bariatric surgery is a major medical procedure that can help you lose weight and lower your risk of obesity-related health problems. It is usually only recommended for people who have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher or a BMI of 35 or higher and obesity-related health problems such as diabetes or heart disease.

Bariatric surgery is a tool to help you achieve weight loss, but it is not a quick fix. You must still make long-term changes to your diet and lifestyle.

There are several types of bariatric surgery, including gastric bypass, gastric banding, and sleeve gastrectomy. The type of surgery you have will depend on your health, body mass index (BMI), and other factors.

Each type of bariatric surgery carries its own risks and benefits. Some of the benefits of bariatric surgery include:

  • Weight loss—the amount of weight you lose depends on the type of surgery and how well you follow your doctor’s instructions.
  • Reduced risk of obesity-related diseases—this includes a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
  • Improved quality of life—weight loss can improve physical, mental, and emotional health.

However, there are also risks associated with bariatric surgery, including:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Ulcers
  • Malnutrition
  • Gallstones

Bariatric surgery can be a helpful tool for those who are struggling with obesity and its associated health risks. While it carries risks, there are also many benefits that can improve overall health and quality of life. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor to determine if it is the right choice for you.

We have 3 locations in the Kansas City area

Independence – Near Centerpoint Hospital: 19101 B Valley View Parkway, Independence, MO 64055 – Directly across the street from Costco
Lee’s Summit – Lee’s Summit Medical Center: 2100 SE Blue Pkwy, Suite 120, Lee’s Summit, MO 64063
Kansas City – St. Joseph Medical Center: 1000 Carondelet Drive, Suite 203B, Kansas City, MO 64114

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