Can Losing Weight Reduce Cancer Risk?

May 4th, 2012
Can Losing Weight Reduce Cancer Risk?

It seems so according to recent research.

Scientists suggest that if obese women cut just 5% of their body fat they could also cut their risk of getting cancer.

The research also found that there was a 42% reduction in their levels of a particular protein that is implicated in the development of cancer. Seemingly the levels rise when there is inflammation in the body.

Talking to reporters about the study, Dr. Anne McTiernan, a cancer expert said: “We think that the inflammation produced in fat tissue and released into the bloodstream might be, in part, responsible for the consistent associations seen between obesity and cancer.”

She added: “Our study shows that a lifestyle change program that is relatively easy for most people to adopt can markedly reduce these blood inflammation markers.”

The study itself was a fairly large one involving no fewer than 400 women who were overweight and were post menopausal.

The women were divided into 3 groups with one group given a reduced calorie diet to follow. Another group was asked to exercise for 225 minutes each week, while the third group combined exercise with diet. There was also a control group.

The biggest reduction in what were called biomarkers for inflammation was found in the combined exercise and diet group, followed by the diet alone group. This seemed to indicate that while dieting alone has a statistically significant effect on cutting cancer risk, combining diet with exercise is more beneficial.

Interestingly, exercise alone had little impact.

“I think the main issue is body fat,” Dr. McTiernan said. “The more fat one has, the more inflammation-producing cells there are, and therefore more inflammation markers produced and sent into the bloodstream.”

Although this study was carried out in the USA, where 1 in 3 cancer deaths are known to be related to being overweight, the results of the study will also have implications for UK and European women.

 

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