The links between obesity and a variety of serious health conditions, including diabetes and heart disease, have been well documented over the last few decades. It is clear that obesity has become one of the greatest health challenges facing Americans in the 21st century. But the dangers of obesity may be even greater than originally observed. Recent research is proving that obesity is also a major contributing factor in the occurrence of many common cancers, and is second only to tobacco as a causal link in the development of a wide range of otherwise preventable cancers. Excess body weight has been directly linked to the ever increasing number of cases of breast cancer, prostate cancer, bowel and colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and cervical and ovarian cancer. It is clear that cancer prevention begins with weight control, and there is no better time than now to seriously reassess America’s ongoing battle with obesity.
Cancer, Obesity, and Biology
In 2007, the World Health Organization recorded more than 80,000 new cases of cancer which could be directly linked to obesity. These cases involved both sexes, with obesity related cancers being slightly more prevalent amongst post-menopausal women. While it is not yet known exactly how excess body weight increases an individual’s cancer risk, some biological factors are clear. First, fatty tissue creates an environment in which cancer causing toxins can be stored and in which they can thrive. Excess body fat also leads to an increase in the production of estrogen in women, as well as insulin in both men and women. Both of which have been linked to an increased risk for cancer. Moreover, obesity appears to cause hormonal changes that interfere with the body’s natural ability to regulate cell growth and cell repair, putting the body at a greater risk for the development of cancerous growths and tumors.
Obesity and Cancer Treatment
If obesity greatly increases the risk for cancer, it also greatly reduces the efficacy of many cancer treatments. The stresses and strains created by excess body weight can seriously compromise the body’s ability to heal itself and can adversely impact a patient’s recovery from many common cancers. This is why it is so important for obese, and borderline obese, men and women to begin addressing the problem immediately. Returning to, and maintaining, a health body mass index will not only reduce the risk for developing cancer, it will also help to improve the effectiveness of any natural therapies should cancer occur.
Attacking the Problem Head On
While obesity is a growing epidemic in many Western developed nations, the good news is that it is entirely treatable. Admittedly, the cure for obesity may be easier to articulate than it is to implement, but the time to attack the problem is now. With some serious lifestyle changes, it is possible to lose weight, feel better, and reduce your risk for developing a variety of life threatening diseases.
The first step is to make the transition to a wholly vegetarian diet, with an emphasis on fresh organically grown vegetables and raw plant fats like avocados, seeds, nuts, olive oil and coconut oil. These raw plant fats do not make you fat but instead shift you into a fat burning metabolism. Choosing organic is vital, particularly with the current rise of genetically modified foods. It is also important to eliminate sugars, solid fats, and alcohol from the diet. In addition to addressing the quality of the food you eat, it is also necessary to make some strategic behavioral changes. It is important to learn to eat only to assuage hunger, and not out of habit. Many of us were taught to “clean our plates”, but it turns out that was bad advice. Eat until you are no longer hungry, not until you are full.
Second, a regular routine of exercise should be adopted. This may be difficult at first for those who are overweight, but over time the routine will become easier and it will be possible to increase your exercise regimen. This will not only help to reduce your body weight, but will also help to strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system, reducing the risk of a variety of chronic conditions, as well as cancer.
To reduce the risk of cancer, it is vital to learn how to maintain a healthy body mass index. The research is undeniable, and the links between obesity and increased risk for a great variety of cancers cannot be ignored. The time to take control of your weight is now, for a longer life and a healthier future.