Forty Percent of American Cancer Cases Linked to Weight - NFCR


Forty Percent of American Cancer Cases Linked to Weight

In a report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity and even being overweight are associated with at least 13 different types of cancer, comprising 40% of all cancer diagnoses. More than 630,000 people in the U.S. are annually diagnosed with a cancer associated with obesity and high weight.

“Around 55 percent of cancers in women and 24 percent of cancers in men were associated with overweight and obesity,” said Dr. Lisa Richardson, director of the CDC Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.

The 13 cancers are meningioma (cancer of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord), thyroid and multiple myeloma (cancer of the blood cells), adenocarcinoma (esophagus), colorectal cancer, and cancers of the kidneys, uterus, ovaries, breast (post-menopausal), gallbladder, upper stomach, liver, and pancreas. In the period spanning 2005 to 2014, 12 of the cancers associated with weight rose seven percent, while rates of other cancers in the same period actually fell by 13%.

Also noted was the fact that most Americans do not know of the link between cancer and weight.

“Awareness of some cancers being associated with obesity and [being] overweight is not yet widespread,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the deputy director of the CDC.

And despite advances in colorectal cancer screenings and successful treatment, people who are overweight or obese are also about 30 percent more likely to develop that particular cancer than individuals with normal weight, according to the report. Women who are overweight or obese are about two to four times more likely to develop endometrial cancer, said Richardson.

“The obesity epidemic is a complex and major public health challenge that requires comprehensive efforts,” said Schuchat. “People can eat healthy, be physically active, and get recommended cancer screening.”

Not unsurprisingly, age is also a factor, with an uptick in the mentioned cancers occurring in people aged 50 to 74.


Anne Schuchat and Lisa Richardson, “Obesity and Cancer,” Vital Signs – October Teleconference Transcript, Oct. 3, 2017.

Cancer and Obesity, Oct. 3. Date accessed: Nov. 29.