Body shape could determine risk of bowel cancer, especially in women

BRISTOL, United Kingdom – Is there really a body shape more prone to cancer? Researchers in the UK say the answer may depend on your gender. Cancer risk varies between genders, a new study finds, with apple-shaped belly fat worse for women and overall fat worse for men.

Researchers looked at the genes of more than 100,000 people and found differences in the effect of body fat measurements on the risk of bowel cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, bowel (or colorectal) cancer is the third most common form of the disease in the United States for both men and women. It is also the third leading cause of cancer death in the country. Health officials expect more than 53,000 people to die from bowel cancer in 2020.

Add more nuance to cancer diagnoses

The team at the University of Bristol and the International Agency for Research on Cancer claim that women with a higher waist-to-hip ratio have a 25 percent increased risk of developing bowel cancer. The results also reveal that a higher BMI in men increases the risk of cancer, but the risk varied with women depending on where the fat is in proportion.

Men weighing an average of 20 pounds over their usual weight increased their risk of bowel cancer by 23%. However, this increase is only nine percent for women.

“Our study, which is the most important for examining the difference between body fat and the risk of colorectal cancer in men and women, reveals the need for a more nuanced approach to trying to prevent cancer,” says Dr. Emma Vincent from the University of Bristol. in a university outing. “We are now working to understand exactly how increased body fat causes colorectal cancer, which may give us new targets for reducing risk. This is important because maintaining weight loss is still very difficult.

“We know that being overweight or obese increases the risk of at least 12 different types of cancer, including colorectal cancer,” adds Dr Anna Diaz Font, head of research funding at the World Cancer Research Fund International. “But this new research reinforces how important it is to include a wide range of people in research studies, because we do not yet fully know the differences that gender or race can play in cancer risk. “

Healthy Eating May Help Lower Your Cancer Risk

Researchers say there are ways to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer. It all starts with reducing your weight through better nutrition and eliminating harmful habits.

“It is well established that maintaining a healthy weight affects many types of cancer,” says Natasha Paton of Cancer Research UK. “Most of the research linking being overweight to cancer uses BMI, but this study adds to the evidence that carrying excess fat around the waist is also important.”

“People can reduce their risk of bowel cancer by maintaining a healthy weight, eating lots of fiber and less red and processed meat, drinking less alcohol and not smoking,” says Paton. “Early diagnosis of bowel cancer saves lives, so if you notice any changes that aren’t normal for you, tell your doctor. And we encourage people to consider screening for bowel cancer when prompted. “

The study was published in BMC Medicine.

SWNS writer Joe Morgan contributed to this report.

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