Obese sitting on ''cancer time bomb'': Research

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London, Dec 13 (UNI) A new research suggests that obesity increases the risk of cancer and 40 per cent of it can be prevented through regulation of diet and exercise.

Sitting on ''cancer time bomb'' is what the experts have used for the people who consume extra and avoid exercises.

A Cancer Prevention Week begins today to explain the correlation between obesity and cancer under the stewardship of Dr Greg Martin, the science and research manager at the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

''People getting fatter will lead to an increase in the number of cancer cases as surely as night follows day,'' said Dr Martin.

''You also have to add into the mix that cancer is largely an older person's disease, and the UK has an ageing population,'' added Dr Martin.

''So, if you have an ageing population that is getting more obese, there could be really serious consequences in terms of the number of people getting cancer if people do not act now. It's a cancer time bomb,'' he remarked.

According to the figures Britain's population is gaining wait at a brisk rate as three years ago 4.3 million British men were said to be obese, which is classified as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more.

This figure might increase to 6.6 million by 2010, an increase of more than 50 per cent.

''It's a huge chunk of the population. Each of these 6.6 million people are going to have an increased risk of cancer, but this is an avoidable risk factor. This kind of increase cannot be explained by anything genetic,'' remarked Dr Martin.

''It's almost certainly a function of behaviour. It's something we can do something about,'' he added.

How being obese can trigger the development of cancers is still poorly understood.

Experts believe hormone-sensitive cancers like breast cancer and endometrial cancer - cancer of the womb lining - are sometimes set off by obesity, because excess fat can alter levels of hormones such as oestrogen.

Dr Martin described the spurt in cancer rate over time as being like ''an epidemic'' which is spreading as people become more sedentary and eat less healthily.

''When you look at a series of maps it's really like an epidemic, a virus spreading. In a lot of ways behaviour is communicable. All over the world people are starting to adopt the same kind of eating pattern. The frustrating thing is that people can make simple changes to their lifestyle to reduce their chances of getting cancer,'' Dr Martin was qouted as saying to Telegraph.

''It really is as simple as eating more healthily, making sure your portion size is not too big, and taking regular exercise,'' quipped the researcher.

''When you think about what a devastating disease cancer is, it really is worth taking these simple steps because they can make a big difference,'' advised the Dr Martin of WCRF.

You can calculate your Body Mass Index by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in metres.

UNI

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