Obesity is on its way to replacing tobacco as the number one preventable cause of cancer, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). This alarming prediction has spurred the ASCO to create a position statement on obesity’s impact on cancer. Several links have been discovered connecting excess weight with the development of cancer. One of these links is that obese people often have increased levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in their blood, which may promote the development of certain tumors. Obesity also creates chronic, low-level inflammation, which has been connected with increased cancer risk. In addition, obesity seems to increase the risk of death and of cancer recurrence, with one study finding that overweight and obesity may contributes to as many as 20 percent of cancer-related deaths. 

 

The ASCO statement calls for first and foremost increased access to screening and treatment of obesity. Additionally, there needs to be increased awareness and education about the links between obesity and cancer, development of new tools and resources for doctors, intensified and coordinated research, says the statement. ASCO also would like CMS to add obesity to the list of chronic diseases eligible for complex chronic care management services. This would increase coverage of obesity treatment for Medicaid and Medicare patients.

The release of this statement highlights the significant impact obesity can have on a person’s health, and the importance of obesity prevention and treatment. Currently, weight loss surgery is the most effective treatment for severe obesity. And while it is not without risk, research shows that weight loss surgery is no riskier than some of the safest and most commonly performed procedures, including appendectomy, gallbladder surgery, and total knee replacement. You can learn more about obesity treatment options by calling our office at 503-227-5050 or attending one of our upcoming educational seminars.

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