Obesity Increases Risk for Several Cancers


Obesity is a public health crisis for many reasons. Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, circulation problems, arthritis, depression, and reduced ability to care for oneself. But another possible risk is several forms of aggressive cancers. Obesity raises the risk of prostate cancer in men and colorectal cancers in both men and women. With one third of Americans overweight or obese the country is facing many health crises related to weight.

Colorectal cancer has long been associated with obesity. Obese individuals have a 50% greater chance of developing colorectal cancer than lean people, though the link between the two was not quite understood until recently. It was thought the link between the two had to do with the amount of fat tissue and its related metabolic processes. But, recent research points toward a high caloric diet turning off a key hormone in the intestines, which leads to deactivation of a tumor suppressor pathway. Scientists are working on a genetic therapy to turn the hormone key back on to stop the deactivation of the tumor suppressor pathway.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in men. Obese men are at a greater risk of developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer. The prostate is surrounded by fatty deposits, but the size and number of these fatty deposits is higher in obese men. In obese individuals, the adipose tissue surrounding the prostate gland seems to help the tumor cells grow outside the prostate gland. As prostate cancer progresses, it can infiltrate these fatty deposits surrounding the prostate, which can lead to cancer cells migrating to nearby organs. This process is more frequent in obese men, likely leading to the development of more aggressive prostate cancers.
While weight loss can not eliminate the risk of cancer, it is one way of reducing your overall risk of several health concerns, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. For those who have tried losing weight with diet and exercise and have not been able to successfully lose weight and keep it off, bariatric surgery may be on option. Gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band procedures have all been proven to lead to successful weight loss. In fact, research shows that bariatric surgery leads to greater body weight loss and remission of type 2 diabetes when compared to nonsurgical weight loss treatments.

If you or a loved one has been considering gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or adjustable lap band surgery, consider attending one of Dr. Shillingford’s free informational meetings. Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A. is a board certified general surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic and obesity surgeries. He holds weekly meetings to discuss gastric sleeve (sleeve gastrectomy), gastric bypass, and lap band surgeries with potential patients. Dr. Shillingford’s gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients come to his Boca Raton office from all over the state of Florida, including Delray Beach, Miami, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville, as well as New York and Georgia. Call Dr. Shillingfords office at (561) 483-8840 to schedule your free informational meeting.

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