There is a clear association between obesity/being overweight and endometrial cancer, (menopausal) breast cancer, colon cancer, esophageal, renal (kidney) and pancreatic cancer. There may also be a link to ovarian, cervical, gallbladder, liver, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma as well as aggressive prostate cancer (while prostate cancer is not a concern for women, it may affect your partner). Even for normal weight women, having increased belly fat is associated with the development of cancer.
Why do researchers think this happens? It seems like “healthy” and “obese” may not go together after all, as obesity can have negative effects on immune function, inflammation, and hormone. These changes can impact not only overall health but may play a role in the development of certain cancers. For instance, excess estrogen production from adipose (fat) tissue can change the flow and length of the menstrual cycle, and this unopposed estrogen is associated with the development of endometrial cancer. This same mechanism may contribute to some types of breast cancer as well.
Even a small amount of weight loss may be helpful for decreasing cancer risk, and, of course, there is a reduction in heart disease and diabetes. Weight loss can also be helpful in bringing some predictability back to the menstrual cycle without the need for hormonal birth control to regulate bleeding.
Given all of the benefits above, not to mention an improved sense of overall wellbeing, now is the perfect time to start making and working toward your own health goals for 2019. Whether that’s to take an exercise class, run an 5K or just lose those pesky (fill in the blank) pounds, we hope that this information can help provide some motivation. Good luck living your best 2019!