High BMI and waist size linked to liver cancer

BMI link cancer

A high BMI, increasing waist circumference and type 2 diabetes could all lead to a higher risk of liver cancer, according to a US study.

Using data from over 1.57 million adults, researchers from the American Cancer Society (ACS) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) wanted to discover whether rising living cancer rates in the US are linked to the growing obesity problem.

Direct link between weight and cancer

Questionnaires were given to each participant asking for details on their height, weight, alcohol intake, tobacco use and other factors potentially related to cancer risk.

At the start of the study, none of the 1.57 million had cancer.

They found that for every 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI, there was an increase in the risk of liver cancer for men of 38% and women of 25%.

For every 5 cm increase in waist size, the increase in risk was 8%.

Those with type 2 diabetes were 2.61 times more likely to be diagnosed with liver cancer than those without. This risk increased if combined with an increase in BMI.

Growing list of obesity-related cancer

Study author Peter Campbell from the ACS says the results mean liver cancer should be added to the list of obesity-associated cancers.

He adds that this is yet another reason to maintain a body weight in the 'normal' range for your height.

The usual risk factors for liver cancer tend to be excess alcohol intake and viral hepatitis infection.

But author Katherine A. McGlynn of the NCI says that while these other well-described risk factors are associated with an increased risk of liver cancer, these factors are much less common in the population than obesity and diabetes.

The study was published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.


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