Overweight, obesity linked to increased risk of 13 cancers

Overweight and obesity are associated with an increased risk of 13 types of cancer, accounting for about 40 percent of all U.S. cancer diagnoses.

A new Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the overall rate of new cancer cases has been on a downward trend. But increases in overweight- and obesity-related cancers are likely slowing that trend.

“A majority of American adults weigh more than recommended – and being overweight or obese puts people at higher risk for a number of cancers – so these findings are a cause for concern,” said CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, in a news release. “By getting to and keeping a healthy weight, we all can play a role in cancer prevention.”

In 2014, about 630,000 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with a cancer associated with overweight and obesity, according to the CDC. The rates of obesity-related cancers (not including colorectal cancer) increased by 7 percent between 2005 and 2014.

The 13 cancers associated with overweight and obesity are meningioma (tissue covering the brain and spinal cord), adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, multiple myeloma, kidneys, uterus, ovaries, thyroid, breast, liver, gallbladder, upper stomach, colon and rectum, and pancreas.

About two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and more than half of Americans don’t know it can increase their risk for cancer, according to the CDC.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

Scroll to top