Being overweight raises the risk of a wide range of cancers, including womb, bladder, breast and bowel cancer.
The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), which analyses the latest cancer research data in a programme called The Continuous Update Project (CUP), found that 1,257 of pancreatic cancer cases could have been avoided had the patients been a healthy weight.
Prof Alan Jackson, professor of human nutrition at the University of Southampton and chairman of the CUP panel, said: “Through keeping levels of body fat low, a lot of people will avoid getting cancer in the first place – forestalling the pain and anguish associated with the disease.”
Pancreatic cancer is considered to be the fifth most deadly cancer in Britain and tragically less than one in five patients survive the first year after diagnosis.
However, doctors believe as much as 15% of new cases could be avoided if Brits keep their body weight within the healthy range.
Researchers claim that 63% of UK adults are overweight or obese. ‘Overweight’ is having a BMI of more than 25, and ‘obese’ is having a BMI of over 30.
Abdominal fat (fat stored around the waist) is thought to particularly dangerous for women as it increases the risk of infertility and breast cancer.
Some studies show that it is not body weight we should be worried about, but metabolic fitness. Some people who might be considered ‘large’ can still be physically fit and therefore less prone to obesity-related health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.
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