The Obesity Pandemic

August 1, 2019

We have an obesity pandemic. This pandemic is shifting cancer to a young person’s disease.

In an analysis of disease data from 2000 to 2016, the incidence of obesity-associated cancers (OACs) has shifted to younger individuals. Typically, these cancers are diagnosed at higher rates among people older than 65. The most notable findings pertain to increases in these OACs among non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic women and men for whom certain cancers increased by 200-400%. Obesity-associated cancers included in this study include cancers of the colon and rectum (combined as colorectal), female breast, uterus, ovary, gallbladder and other biliary organs, esophagus, stomach, liver and intrahepatic bile duct, pancreas, kidney and renal pelvis, thyroid, and multiple myeloma.

Cancers not included in the OAC grouping (including lung cancer, melanoma, and brain cancers) are referred to as non-OACs. “Changes in Age Distribution of Obesity-Associated Cancers,” published in JAMA Network Open Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database more than six million incident cancer cases.

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