“Cancer Research UK” warns that obesity is Britain’s biggest cause of cancer after smoking. In the U.S., overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk of 13 types of cancer.
While the link between cancer and obesity is unclear, research has identified three leading explanations.
Besides storing energy, fat spreads information and instructions to the rest of the body, affecting cell growth and chemical reactions. With too much fat, signals can cause damage and likely raise the risk of cancer.
Excess fat also raises levels of insulin and other growth factors and triggers specialized immune cells to release a cocktail of chemicals called cytokines, which can lead to inflammation. These factors seem to raise the risk of cancer.
Too much belly fat does more damage. So-called “apple” shapes are linked to bowel, kidney, esophageal, pancreatic, and breast cancers.