Obesity and cancer

Hippokratia 1999, 3(3):123-126

D. Tsavdaridis, A. Diamantopoulos


A positive correlation between obesity and development of certain types of malignant neoplasms has been found in a large number of epidemiological studies. Eating habits and obesity are directly connected with cancer mortality. An increased relative risk for development of breast cancer is present in women with a BMI > 28-30, particularly in those who are postmenopausal and have central type obesity. Endometrial cancer has been associated with the same factors. In both cases the higher risk is attributed to hormonal changes. Colon and kidney cancers appear in a higher incidence in the obese, a fact attributed to the higher levels of IGF I and II. There is a possible correlation between obesity and other types of cancer, like ovarian and gallbladder cancer. A reduction in body weight and the adoption of a healthier life style reduce the risk of development of cancer and the mortality rate of the disease.