A new report suggests that obesity will be the most common cause of preventable cancer cases in women by the year 2043.
Research conducted by Cancer Research UK claims that obesity will overtake smoking as the leading preventable cause of cancer in females over the course of the next 25 years. At the moment, around 7% of cases of cancer in females are linked to being overweight or obese, with 12% associated with smoking. However, experts believe that trends indicate that the prevalence of risk factors will change in years to come. As more and more people quit smoking, and obesity rates rise, it’s increasingly likely that preventable cases will be linked to obesity rather than smoking.
Cancer Research’s current projections suggest that in 2035, around 10% of cases in women will be linked to smoking, with 9% related to obesity. By 2043, experts expect the trend to be reversed, with obesity taking over as the leading risk factor in women.
This trend is not expected to be replicated in the male population, as more men smoke than women, and forms of cancer that are more commonly found in females are thought to be more heavily linked to body weight. Research claims that types of cancer, including liver, bowel, breast, kidney, thyroid, ovarian and gall bladder cancer are all associated with obesity.
Professor Linda Bauld, prevention expert at Cancer Research UK, has urged the government to learn from the success of anti-smoking campaigns to try and lower the number of people affected by cancer cases linked to weight. Targeting children is particularly important, as studies show that children who are overweight are five times more likely to be overweight or obese in adulthood. The most recent statistics demonstrate that rates of severe childhood obesity have increased over the last ten years.