Obesity Becoming a Big Concern for Oncologists

With obesity giving smoking a run for its money when it comes to causes of preventable cancer, oncologists may soon take a stronger role in counseling patients to shed pounds. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has launched its own obesity initiative to help patients better understand the importance of weight loss.

Obesity is a major factor in the United States with an estimated one out of three adults considered overweight. Researchers have long linked obesity with certain forms of cancer. Now, as more evidence comes to light showing its link to recurrence, oncologists are being asked to step up to the plate to provide patient education and guidance toward effective weight loss measures.

While linked to many forms of cancer, obesity is of particular concern in cases of breast and prostate cancer. Researchers have found that obesity is linked to estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer in both premenopausal and post-menopausal women. In addition, it raises the risk of recurrence and death in prostate cancer cases.

Aside from lessening the fuel cancer cells have, shedding pounds may help prevent recurrences in other ways. Researchers have theorized that the metabolic changes that occur after weight loss may greatly improve cancer treatment outcomes.

To help turn the tides in patients’ favors, oncologists have been asked to take a lead role in counseling patients to seek the weight loss help they need. Viable weight loss programs may provide patients the boost they need to shed pounds as might bariatric surgical procedures designed to help obese and morbidly obese people.

Those who are obese – with or without cancer – are urged to take measures to shed the pounds. Losing weight can greatly reduce the risks of developing a wide variety of conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke. To learn more about the options for weight loss intervention, discuss the possible treatments with a licensed healthcare provider.

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