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Home Industry News Obesity raises throat cancer risk ‘six-fold’

Obesity raises throat cancer risk ‘six-fold’

11th October 2007

Obese people are six times as likely to develop throat (oesophageal) cancer as those of a healthy weight, a new study claims.

Men who are seriously overweight and people under 50 are linked to the highest increase in risk.

According to the study published today in the journal Gut, those with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more were six times as likely to have the cancer as those with a BMI between 18.5 and 25.

This was found to be true even when other cancer-related factors such as smoking and high alcohol consumption were taken into account.

A link between acid reflux and throat cancer is well known and the study showed that repeated symptoms of severe heartburn or gastrointestinal reflux disease (Gord) were associated with a much higher risk of the cancer.

Gord raised the risk of throat cancer by five times, and a combination of obesity and acid reflux boosted the chances of having it by a factor of 16.

But the researchers argue that the people who are obese have an increased risk regardless of whether they have the reflux disease.

Their findings are based on a comparison of almost 800 people with throat cancer and almost 1,600 randomly selected people who did not have the cancer.

“These data confirm that obesity independently increases the risk of adenocarcinomas [tumours] of the oesophagus, and to a lesser extent, the gastro-oesophageal junction,” the researchers conclude

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