Killer T cells surround a cancer cell. Photo credit: NIH

This large study, enrolling over 100,000 people, was led by researchers from Bristol University and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. They found that a higher BMI (body mass index; a measure of total fat) is more dangerous for men, while a higher waist-to-hip ratio (your waist measurement divided by your hip measurement; a measure of belly fat) is more dangerous for women . To find out, they used an approach called Mendelian randomization, which uses genetic information as a surrogate measure of weight, to study the effect of different body fat measurements on colorectal cancer risk in men and women.

An increase in the BMI of around five kg / m2 increased the risk of colon cancer in men by 23 percent, but in women by only nine percent. While an equivalent increase in the waist-to-hip ratio increased the risk for women by 25 percent, it was only five percent for men. Colon cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK but the second deadliest1. Still, it’s one of the most preventable cancers if you eat a balanced diet, are active, and maintain a healthy weight.

Dr. Emma Vincent, one of the researchers who led the study and works at the University of Bristol, said, “Our study, which looked at the biggest difference between body fat and colorectal cancer risk in men and women, shows the need for a more nuanced approach to prevention Cancer. We are now working to understand exactly how more body fat causes colon cancer, which can give us new targets for risk reduction. This is important as maintaining weight loss is still very difficult. “

Dr. Anna Diaz Font, Head of Research Funding at WCRF added, “We know that being overweight or obese increases your risk of at least 12 different cancers, including colon cancer. However, this new research underscores the importance of including a broad and diverse range of people in research studies as we do not yet fully understand the gender and race differences in cancer risk. “

Natasha Paton, Cancer Research UK’s Health Information Manager, stated, “It is common knowledge that maintaining a healthy weight affects many cancers. Most of the research linking obesity to cancer uses the BMI waistline is also important.

“People can lower their risk of colon cancer by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a high-fiber diet, eating less red and processed meat, drinking less alcohol and not smoking. Diagnosing colon cancer early saves lives, so if you notice changes that it is not normal for you to tell your doctor. And we encourage people to consider having colon cancer screening by invitation. “

More research is needed to understand why this difference may exist between men and women. This study was published in BMC Medicine.

Colon Cancer: A Growing Risk For Young Men

More information:
BMC Medicine (2020). bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/… 6 / s12916-020-01855-9 Provided by the University of Bristol

Quote: The risk of cancer from obesity is different for men and women (2020, December 16). Retrieved December 16, 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-12-cancer-obesity-differs-men-women.html

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