April 2018

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Learn About Obesity and Cancer Risk

Doctors can’t always explain why one person gets cancer and another doesn’t. But research has shown that certain risk factors may increase a person’s chance of getting cancer. One risk factor is obesity, or having too much body fat.

Many studies have found links between obesity and certain types of cancer. Most of these studies have compared differences between large groups of people who developed cancer with those who didn’t. Many of these studies found that people who develop certain types of cancer are more likely to be obese than those who don’t develop these cancers.

That doesn’t mean obesity is the cause of these cancers. People who are obese or overweight may differ from lean people in ways other than their body fat. It’s possible that these other differences might explain different cancer risks.

Yet, studies have consistently linked obesity with an increased risk for several types of cancer. Researchers are now exploring what biological mechanisms might link obesity and cancer.

You can learn more about obesity and cancer by visiting cancer.gov/obesity-fact-sheet.