Cancer loves fat: Almost 800,000 new cases a year are attributed to diabetes and being overweight in a recent study

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(Natural News) A study has found that about 800,000 cancer cases were caused by diabetes and excess weight globally in 2012. This study was carried out by a team of researchers from the Imperial College London, U.K. and is the first study to quantify the number of cancers caused by diabetes and excess weight.

For the study, the researchers collected data on the occurrence of 12 kinds of cancer from 175 countries in 2012 and combined it with data on high body mass index (BMI) and on diabetes. A high BMI was defined as a BMI greater than or equal to 25 kg/m2. Then, they categorized the data sets by age group and sex to consider the age differences using diabetes and BMI data from 2002 to measure cancer incidence in 2012 caused by these risks. They evaluated the rise in new cases of 18 cancers according to the occurrence of diabetes and high BMI in 175 countries from 1980 to 2002.

The findings of the study, published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, revealed that 5.6 percent or 792,600 cases of all cancers in 2012 were attributable to the joined effects of diabetes and excess weight as independent risk factors. When attributed separately, 544,300 cases or 3.9 percent of all cancers were linked to high BMI and 280,100 or two percent were associated to diabetes.

Moreover, results showed that almost all of the cancer cases attributable to diabetes and high BMI was prevalent in high-income Western countries, about 38.2 percent or 303,000 cancer cases. Countries in the East and Southeast Asia come second with approximately 24.1 percent or 190,900 cancer cases.


The researchers also found that liver and endometrial cancer had the greatest number of cancer cases attributable to the two risk factors, but the number of other cancer cases differs worldwide. Liver cancer caused 30.7 percent and 53.8 percent of cases in high-income Asia Pacific and East and Southeast Asian countries, respectively, while breast and endometrial cancers caused 40.9 percent of cases in high-income Western countries, Central and Eastern Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Worldwide, the increasing number of diabetic people from 1980 to 2002 resulted to 77,000 new cases of attributable cancers in 2012, while the number of people who are overweight and obese resulted to 174,040 new cases of weight-related cancers. (Related: Women who carry excess abdominal fat have a 50% chance of developing lung and bowel cancer.)

“As the prevalence of these cancer risk factors increases, clinical and public health efforts should focus on identifying preventive and screening measures for populations and for individual patients,” said Dr. Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard of the Imperial College London, U.K. And lead author of the study.

The researchers project that the proportion of related cancers will increase by over 30 percent in women and 20 percent in men on average based on the projected prevalence of diabetes and high BMI in 2025. Pearson-Stuttard warned that these projections are alarming. There is a need to enhance control measures and increase awareness of the associations between cancer, diabetes, and high BMI, he says.

“It is important that effective food policies are implemented to tackle the rising prevalence of diabetes, excess weight, and the diseases related to these risk factors,” Pearson-Stuttard said.

According to an article by, there are several possible reasons that links obesity with cancer. One of these is the increased levels of insulin and insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1) that triggers the development of some cancers. Another reason is people who have excess weight are more prone to chronic, low-level inflammation that also increases the risk of cancer. Greater amounts of estrogen made by fat tissue can also induce the development of some cancers, such as breast and endometrial cancers. Lastly, fat cells may stimulate the processes that regulate cancer cell growth.

Read more stories on the causes of cancers at

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