India ranks as the 3rd most obese country in the world and according to National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) the obesity levels in the urban population of Rajasthan has doubled over the last 10 years. This means that Indians have too much body fat compared to lean body tissue, such as muscle. Many factors cause people to become overweight or obese, including genetic, hormonal, environmental, emotional, and cultural factors. People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of many serious health conditions, including type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Being overweight or obese is also associated with an increased risk of cancer.
It is believed that being overweight or obese after menopause increases breast cancer risk. Before menopause ovaries produce most of the estrogen, and fat tissue produces a small amount of it. But after menopause (stopping of monthly periods), most of estrogen comes from fat tissue. Having more fat tissue after menopause can increase estrogen levels which can increase chance of getting breast cancer. In addition, women who are overweight tend to have higher blood insulin levels which have been linked to some cancers, including breast cancer.
Several studies have explored why being overweight or obese may increase cancer risk and growth. The possible reasons that obesity is linked with cancer include increased levels of insulin, chronic, low-level inflammation, higher amounts of estrogen produced by fat tissue & fat cells may also effect processes that regulate cancer cell growth.
Research suggests that maintaining a healthy weight is associated with a lower risk of cancer and recurrence in cancer survivors. Being overweight or obese has been linked to some cancers like Breast, Colorectal, Uterine, Kidney, Head and neck, Esophageal, Pancreatic, Endometrium (lining of the uterus), Prostate, Gallbladder and Thyroid.
Diet for Cancer Prevention
|Include in your Diet||Exclude in your Diet|
|Include Fresh Fruits & Vegetables||Processed & fast food|
|High fiber Diet||Food rich in carbohydrate & fat|
– (Dr Nidhi Patni is Senior Consultant & HOD, Department of Radiation Oncology, BMCHRC)