Did you know that one of the best things you can do to prevent cancer is maintaining a healthy body weight and lifestyle? According to the Canadian Cancer Society, about one-third of all cancers can be prevented by eating well, staying active and maintaining a healthy body weight.
However, the connection between being obese and developing cancer is not as well known as you might think! In this article, we’ll help you to stay informed and inspired about tackling obesity and reducing your risk of developing cancer! Read on to learn more.
Understanding Weight Gain and Cancer Risk
When we talk about being overweight and obese, what we’re really asking is, are you carrying more fat than you should be? Extra fat in the body can have harmful effects, such as producing hormones and growth factors that affect the way your cells work.
Essentially, the more fat you have, the more havoc it wreaks with your hormones. Your hormones are the key to healthy cell growth and division. If your hormones are out of sync, your cells may not divide correctly which could lead to the production of abnormal cells. This production of abnormal cells can be the slippery slope to the start of cancer.
Types of Cancer Linked to Overweight or Obesity
Research has shown that many types of cancer are more common in people who are overweight or obese, especially when the fat is located around the belly area (central obesity). Central obesity is often linked to bowel, kidney, esophageal, pancreatic, and breast cancer. It isn’t clear exactly why, but it could have something to do with the ability of certain chemicals from fat to access the bloodstream.
Measuring Weight Gain
There are several different tools for measuring your weight and state of health. One of the most accurate and effective methods is to calculate your body mass index (BMI). Your BMI measures your weight-to-height ratio, helping determine whether you have a healthy body weight.
A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. A BMI between 25 and 29.5 is considered overweight, while a BMI of 30 or higher is obese. These numbers also vary depending on if you are male or female. For more information about your BMI and if you’re a healthy weight or not, speak with your physician.
Does Losing Weight Reduce Cancer Risk?
Research on how permanent weight reduction might lower the risk of developing cancer is limited. There is growing evidence that weight loss could reduce the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer, more aggressive forms of prostate cancer, and possibly other cancers, too. Some body changes that occur as a result of weight loss could help prevent or reduce your risk of cancer. For example, those who are overweight or obese who intentionally lose weight have reduced levels of certain hormones that are related to cancer risk, such as insulin, estrogen, and androgens.
Weight Management Tips
If you are currently overweight or obese, it is best to start by taking steps to lose weight through nutrition and exercise. Aim to lose 5% to 10% of your body weight as your first goal, under the supervision of a doctor, of course. Although this amount may seem small, research shows that even losing as little as 5% of your weight can be beneficial.
If nutritional changes and increasing physical activity aren’t enough, there are other steps you can take. Weight loss surgery may be an option for those with a BMI of 30 or higher.
Since 2005, the SmartShape™ Weight Loss Centre has been providing a safe and very effective avenue to access bariatric procedures, which has helped thousands of Canadians with weight loss solutions that work! Wait times for bariatric surgery in the public health system are very long.
Our knowledgeable and passionate team of health care professionals specializes in the treatment of obesity, and our experienced surgeons perform more weight loss procedures than any other clinic in Canada. SmartShape™ is a private bariatric clinic in Canada offering gastric sleeve surgery and mini gastric bypass surgery, as well as revision surgery and Lap-Band® adjustments.