(Health News) A report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed that U.S. cancer rates have, once again, shown a significant increase in recent years after a steady decline since the 1990s. The report notes that the worsening obesity epidemic in the U.S. has greatly contributed to the steady increase in cancer cases across the country over the last few years. The research team pooled data from the United States Cancer Statistics and examined cases between 2005 and 2014 as part of the study.
“When we step back and lump together all the types of cancer associated with overweight and obesity, we saw a direction upwards. Our report found an increase in a number of types of cancers associated with obesity and overweight, at a period when the prevalence of obesity and overweight has increased substantially in the middle ages. That’s not a smoking gun, but it’s a note of caution for us,” CDC Deputy Director Anne Schuchat told The Guardian online.
According to the report, about 630,000 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with an obesity-related cancer in 2014 alone. The report has also revealed that two in three cancer cases have occurred in middle-aged and senior patients. The rates of obesity-related cancers have also shown a 7 percent increase between 2005 and 2014, the report adds. Likewise, the CDC report has identified 13 cancers associated with being overweight and obese. These cancers include:
- Multiple myeloma
- Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus
- Cancers of the thyroid
- Postmenopausal breast cancer
- Gallbladder cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Liver cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Uterine cancer
- Colon and rectum cancer
According to CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, a majority of adults in the U.S. are either overweight or obese. The official also notes that the findings about the link between excess weight and cancer are a cause for concern. In an agency press release, the expert suggests keeping a healthy weight to prevent the onset of cancer. (Related: Obesity linked to 11 cancers, 33 percent of Americans at risk.)
“It’s interesting when we talk about cancer in this country, we talk about beating cancer and the cancer moonshot initiative, but all of these things are focused on treating cancer, curing cancer. What we need to talk about is preventing cancer, eating better. Those approaches are cost effective and have a bigger impact. It’s so much easier to not get cancer than to have to deal with treating it,” outside expert Theodore Brasky adds.
More details about the increasing cancer rates
Data from the CDC report has also revealed that 55 percent of all cancer cases in women and 24 percent of cancer cases in men are associated with excess weight. Likewise, the report has shown that both non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites have higher incidence rates of obesity-related cancer compared with other racial and ethnic groups. Black males and American Indian/Alaska Native males have also exhibited higher incidence rates than their white counterparts.
The report has also enumerated certain measures that health care providers may take in order to help patients prevents cancer. According to the reports, health providers should:
- Assess the patients’ weight, height and body mass index (BMI), and provide counseling on maintaining a healthy weight;
- Refer obese patients to intensive weight management programs; and
- Refer obese patients and their families to community services to increase their activity levels and help them gain more access to healthier food choices.
“As an oncologist, when people ask me if there’s a cure for cancer, I say, ‘Yes, good health is the best prescription for preventing chronic diseases, including cancer. What that means to healthcare providers like me is helping people to have the information they need to make healthy choices where they live, work, learn, and play, ” says Dr. Lisa C. Richardson, director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.