For women in Western nations, being overweight or obese could become the leading cause of cancer within 10 years, says a new study.
Currently, obesity accounts for up to 8 percent of cancers. But European researchers said that could dramatically increase due to the obesity epidemic and a sharp decline in major causes of cancer such as smoking and hormone replacement therapy for women, the Associated Press reported.
The researchers calculated that in 2002, being overweight or obese was associated with 70,000 of two million cancer cases in 30 European countries. By 2008, at least 124,000 cases of cancer were linked with obesity. The researchers found that colorectal cancer, breast cancer in postmenopausal women and endometrial cancer accounted for 65 percent of all cancers associated with being overweight or obese.
The study was presented Thursday at the joint meeting of the European Cancer Organization and the European Society for Medical Oncology.
"Obesity is catching up at a rate that makes it possible it could become the biggest attributable cause of cancer in women within the next decade," said Andrew Renehan, a cancer expert at the University of Manchester in England, the AP reported.