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Cancer Center Wise Regional

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Understanding How Obesity Causes Cancer

Dr. Echt explains how obesity causes different types of cancers.

Decatur, TX, April 29, 2019 - Obesity is soon overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of cancer. While it is preventable, obesity still poses a risk for various cancers, including heart disease. The fat accumulated in the body not only stores calories, but it also sends biological information that controls metabolism, growth and reproductive cycles. Fats have darker sides especially when it comes to cancer.

"When people are obese or overweight, the excess fat in the body hurts their overall health," explained Dr. Echt. “There’s evidence that obesity is becoming the leading cause of deaths from cancer and other diseases such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease.”

Here are proven theories of how obesity causes cancer:

•    Connection with estrogen – Increased estrogen levels in obese women after menopause is strongly linked to high-risk breast and womb cancers. Ovaries produce estrogen in pre-menopausal women. But when ovaries stop working after menopause, fat takes over the role of producing estrogen. Scientific evidence shows that obesity leads to high levels of estrogen in post-menopausal women. Too much estrogen encourages uncontrolled cell division.

•    Metabolic complications – The body's metabolic system relies on information from body cells and organs. The chemical signals from fat cells can upset the balance of this information and cause cancer risk. If the instructions from insulin are overridden by fatty acids, the liver and muscles can use the fat as fuel and not glucose. The body fat around the abdomen releases fatty acids, which in excess can make cells to resist the effects of insulin making it impossible to take up glucose properly. The pancreas will try to secrete more to compensate and will increase insulin levels, leading to obesity and the risk of cancer.

•    Inflammation – Obese people have high fat build-up that prompts immune cells (macrophages) to clear up dead fat cells. Macrophages release chemicals known as cytokines, which also multiply in the process of clearing up the dead fat cells. Obese fatty tissue contains plenty of macrophages and can lead to chronic inflammation. Inflammation causes cells to divide in order to heal the inflamed area. This, in turn, causes the growth and spread of cancer.

"While researchers are working on developing drugs that will override fat cell signals, it is best for people to maintain a healthy weight," continued Dr. Echt. “Keeping a healthy lifestyle is key to good body weight.”

About North Texas Cancer Center at Wise

North Texas Cancer Center at Wise, a division of Choice Cancer Care, is now operating as the Cancer Center at Wise Regional and is one of the most renowned cancer treatment centers in Texas. The center unites some of the best cancer doctors and surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists. Our expert team delivers superior cancer treatment in Texas, with the best results available.

Contact Details:

North Texas Cancer Center at Wise County
2010 S. Ben Merritt Drive, Ste A
Decatur, TX 76234

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