According to one of the latest reports published by the journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians and the epidemiologists of Imperial College London and the prestigious Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, overweight is responsible for almost 4% of cancers diagnosed each year in the world. We talked about the proven correlation between obesity and cancer with Professor Alberto Mantovani, Scientific Director of Humanitas.
The results published in the Cancer Journal for Clinicians and in Nature
The analysis of a large amount of data, both globally and by geographical region, on overweight and cancer, showed that in 2016 about 40% of adults and 18% of children between 5 and 19 years old had an excess weight, equal to almost 2 billion adults and 340 million children globally. In addition, an estimated 4 million deaths in one year are attributable to overweight.
Overweight and related cancers
13 different types of cancer were related to overweight and obesity: breast (after menopause), rectum, uterus, esophagus, gallbladder, kidney, liver, ovary, pancreas, stomach and thyroid, meningioma and multiple myeloma. The journal Nature also highlighted the possible genetic relationships between obesity, cancer and metabolic syndrome, revealing that there are 38 genes perfectly superimposable between subjects suffering from breast cancer, for example, diabetics and obese, so those suffering from obesity would have a greater chance of genetic type to develop this type of tumors.
The word of Humanitas
“They are studies that shed new light on how obesity, and more generally overweight, disorient our immune system,” explained Professor Alberto Mantovani, scientific director of Humanitas. To confirm that “obesity is a primary cause of cancer” there are also data from the IARC in Lyon, the International Agency for Cancer Research of the World Health Organization”.
As Mantovani explained, in addition to increasing the risk of typical cardiovascular diseases, overweight also affects other aspects of our body: for example, disorienting it and “corrupting” some of the ‘policemen’ in our defense, called macrophages, who begin to help the enemy, then cancer, and paralyze the cells NK – Natural Killer, which are the first line of defense against infections and cancers.
“The adipose tissue is composed not only of fat cells, which act as ‘energy storehouses’ and ‘reservoirs’ of our organism, but also of cells of the immune system that are very important because they make that we burn at the right time our fuel and our energy” – said the professor. “When you are overweight, or even obese, these cells are disoriented and send the wrong messages to our body. Macrophages produce inflammatory signals that help the development of cancer in many ways, for example by promoting metastases.
What is the formula zero – five – thirty
To have a correct lifestyle and avoid obesity, Professor Mantovani suggests adopting the formula “zero – five – thirty: zero smoking, five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables at least a day and thirty minutes of exercise.