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Obesity and Cancer

Posted 12/9/2016

Posted in

  This is another (and I am sorry) depressing entry. Many of us are all too aware of the difficulty of maintaining weight, let alone losing weight, after cancer. Although the on-the-street image of a cancer patient is probably someone who is thin and pale, we know that many chemo treatments actually encourage weight gain. As I write that, I realize it is much more complicated. The pounds are due to some combination of the drugs, increased appetite from steroids that may be part of the anti-nausea regimen, nibbling to keep something in our stomachs so that the nausea is reduced, the lure of carbs and comfort foods, and likely diminished exercise. The anti-estrogen treatments that are often part of the treatment for breast and prostate cancers also encourage weight gain.

  For many women, a cancer diagnosis and treatment brings immediate menopause and all women, even after a natural menopause, have a harder time losing weight.

  This is all one big SIGH

  And here is more evidence as reported in

Obesity: A Growing Burden for Cancer Survivors
Author: Priyam Vora

Patients with a history of cancer were more likely to suffer from obesity than the general population, according to new research studying the incidence of obesity in cancer survivors. This incidence was even greater in patients who were survivors of colorectal and breast cancers.
The study from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health was designed to compare rates of obesity among cancer survivors and adults without a history. By examining the trend in obesity prevalence among cancer survivors in United States and comparing the trends with those of adults without a history of cancer, the study is first of its kind. The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Prevalence of Obesity for Cancer Survivors
The researchers used a population-based nationally representative sample of 538,969 non-institutionalized US adults with or without a history of cancer. All participants were between the ages of 18 and 85 years. All participants had also participated in annual cross-sectional National Health Interview Surveys from 1997 to 2014.For standardization purposes, obesity was defined as body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2 for non-Asians and body mass index ≥ 27.5 kg/m2 for Asians.
The key results were as follows:
A total of 32,447 cancer survivors were identified.
The most common cancer diagnoses were breast cancer (6948 patients), prostate cancer (3984 patients), and colorectal cancer (2546 patients).
During the study period, the prevalence of obesity increased for both cancer survivors as well as adults without a history of cancer. (From 22.4% to 31.7% in cancer survivors and from 20.9% to 29.5% in adults without a history of cancer.)
However, the annual increase in obesity prevalence was higher in adults with a history of cancer as compared to those without a history.
Populations with the highest rates of increasing obesity were colorectal cancer survivors followed by breast cancer survivors.
African American survivors of all 3 cancers were particularly affected.

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