The link between poor diet and cancer has become even more compelling after a panel of experts concluded that obesity is a risk factor in eight more cancers than previously thought.
The study, carried out by scientists convened by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), concluded that there was sufficient evidence to show that adults with high levels of body fat were at higher risk of cancers of the gastric cardia, gall bladder, liver, pancreas, ovary, thyroid, meningioma and multiple myeloma. The link has already been established for cancers of the colon and rectum, oesophagus, kidney, breast in post-menopausal women and endometrium of the uterus.
“This comprehensive evaluation reinforces the benefits of maintaining a healthy body weight in order to reduce the risk of several different types of cancer,” said Dr Béatrice Lauby-Secretan, lead author of the study.
In 2013, an estimated 4.5 million deaths worldwide were attributable to overweight and obesity. Future figures are likely to be higher reflecting the newly discovered links between obesity and cancer.
“The new evidence emphasises how important it is to find effective ways, at both the individual and societal level, to implement World Health Organisation recommendations on improving diets and physical activity patterns throughout life if the burden of cancer and other non-communicable diseases is to be tackled,” said IARC director, Dr Christopher Wild.