The relationship between obesity and cancer has been well described…and well ignored! Exposure to excess body fat will contribute to increased risk of some of the most common cancers including bowel and breast. Yet, few agencies working in the cancer settings (including the NHS) bring this to the attention of the millions of people who are in contact with healthcare every day. Many think it is a duty of care for people to be given advice on how to “stack the odds” against cancer occurrence (and recurrence) and that we deny people the opportunity to be supported to reduce cancer risk.
The association between body fatness and cancer risk varies by cancer site and by body size. What is clear however, is that aiming to achieve a Body Mass Index at the lower end of the healthy weight range is desirable (see WCRF recommendations on body fatness). The European Code Against Cancer guides us to “take action to be a healthy body weight.”
More than two thousand years ago Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine, noted that if we all had “the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health”. In general, all too few of us are following Hippocrates’ advice today.
In cancer terms, we know that 4 in 10 cancer cases in the UK could be prevented largely by changes to lifestyle. In this blog post I’ll be looking at one of these changes: being physically active. Continue reading “Cutting Cancer Cases – Ready Steady Go!”