Million Women Study Portrays Strong Obesity –Cancer Link

by Savitha C Muppala on Jul 16 2008 4:54 PM

The largest study of its kind undertaken in Britain, titled as the ‘Million Women Study’, to understand the reason behind the rise in the incidences of cancer found obesity as a prominent cause of cancer in women. Nearly five per cent of all cancers in women aged 50 - 64 were connected to obesity.

According to researchers, nearly 6000 women, between the ages of 50 and 60 are diagnosed with cancer each year. Close to 50% of the cases pertaining to cancer of the womb and throat were found to be linked to obesity.

The study which tracked a million women between 50-64 years of age for five years, found that a high body mass index triggered the surge of all types of cancers. The risk of cancer was three fold with a 10 point increase in the body mass index.

The risk of kidney cancer, cancer of the pancreas, multiple myeloma, leukemia, and ovarian cancer, increased with being overweight. 45,037 new cancers were diagnosed and 17,203 women succumbed to the cancer during the period, the study revealed.

Dr Gillian Reeves, the team leader and a Cancer Research UK epidemiologist from Oxford University, said: "We estimate that being overweight or obese accounts for around 6,000 out of a total 120,000 new cases of cancer each year among middle-aged and older women in the UK. Our research also shows that being overweight has a much bigger impact on the risk of some cancers than others. Two thirds of the additional 6,000 cancers each year due to overweight or obesity would be cancers of the womb or breast."