Our big fat cancer statistics

From Baltimore, at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research

A new analysis of data on people’s health finds obesity to be the second-largest cause of cancer in the United States, contributing to 10 percent of all cancers. Tobacco is responsible for 30 percent of cancer cases.

Unlike smoking, however, obesity is on the rise. Moreover, being severely overweight can increase a person’s risk of developing at least eight types of cancer.

Graham Colditz of Harvard Medical School in Boston reanalyzed a 2002 report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Colditz says that the data suggest that current efforts to lower cancer incidence could be thwarted by burgeoning waistlines.

Poor diet and lack of exercise, regardless of weight, can also increase a person’s chance of developing cancer, Colditz says. He adds that other cancer culprits include pollutants, toxins in food, and infectious agents.

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