Obesity and Colon Cancer

Thursday, April 1st, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Although researchers have long agreed that obesity is a risk factor for developing colon cancer, its effects on colon cancer survival are less well-understood. However, a recent study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research sheds new light on the subject.

The investigation, which was conducted over an eight-year period, involved more than 4,000 patients with colon cancer. While it did not prove a direct cause-and-effect link between obesity and long-term survival, it did suggest a relationship — especially in men.

Of the normal-weight men who entered the study, 53 percent were still alive after eight years. Of the severely-obese men who entered the study, 42 percent were still alive after eight years. They were 35 percent more likely to die during the study than were men of normal weight.

Whether and how obesity influences colon cancer prognosis, as well as greater clarity regarding its effects on female colon cancer patients specifically, will require further study. Meanwhile, researchers advise colon cancer patients to aim for a body mass index (BMI, a measure of body weight in relation to height) of under 30.

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