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February 7, 2019

Obesity facilitates tumour development and progression


February 7, 2019

Islamabad : Obese individuals not only face a higher risk of developing cancer but are also more likely to have reduced response to anticancer therapies, and resistance to chemotherapies.

According to consultant nutritionist at Shifa International Hospital Dr. Rezzan Khan, obesity facilitates tumour development and progression. “Recent studies focus on primary prevention and treatment of obesity-related cancers as well as relevant dietary interventions including calorie restriction, intermittent fasting, low-fat diet, and ketogenic diet, with the goal of breaking the obesity-cancer link,” she stated while talking to this scribe here on Wednesday.

The prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically over the past 50 years in Pakistan, as also across the globe. “One in four Pakistani adults are overweight. The accumulation of fat is more dangerous for South Asians than Caucasians because the fat tends to cling to organs like the liver instead of the skin,” Dr. Rezzan pointed out, adding that an estimated one-third of all cancer cases are caused by dietary factors.

Based on the recent report of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the risk for 13 distinct types of cancers is increased with excess body fat: breast (in postmenopausal women), ovarian, liver, gallbladder, kidney, colon, pancreatic, gastric, oesophageal, endometrial, thyroid, multiplemyeloma, (blood cancer) and meningioma (brain tumor). Overall, an estimated 13% of incident cases worldwide, and approximately 20% of incident cases in Europe and North America, are attributable to obesity.

Since diets of various sorts are still in their infancy to effectively understand and target the obesity-cancer link, it is essential to follow the updated cancer prevention recommendations issued by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) in 2018. The recommendations, Dr. Rezzan maintained, flag the need to keep the body weight within the healthy range; be physically active as part of everyday life—walk more and sit less—make wholegrains, vegetables, fruits and pulses such as beans and lentils a major part of your daily diet, and limit consumption of fast foods and other processed foods high in fat, starches or sugars.

“The recommendations also including limiting the consumption of red meat to about three portions per week. Three portions is equivalent to about 350-500g cooked weight of red meat. Consume very little, if any, processed meat; limit consumption of sugar sweetened drinks and do not use self-medicated supplements for cancer prevention. Get all the nutrients needed from a healthy diet instead,” Dr. Rezzan stated.

“Diet and lifestyle patterns, rather than any other single factor, work together to increase or decrease the risk of developing cancer,” the nutrition stated as a concluding remark.

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