The truth about obesity and cancer

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) is raising awareness of the link between obesity and cancer. But many people have talked about the movement publicly, claiming it is reductionist and shameful. We explore the science of linking weight with the disease.

You may have seen them: posters imitating cigarette packages, which read: “Obesity is also a cause of cancer.” CRUK’s new public awareness campaign is nothing more than a confrontation. A similar campaign took place last year. The campaign criticized: “OB_S__Y is the cause of cancer.

 Doctors and other health experts openly opposed the latest and previous campaigns. Last year, Dr. Margaret McCartney wrote a column for BMJ, “Cancer patients should not be ashamed,” noting that two studies show that overweight people are “disproportionately” harmed by stigmatizing messages like CRUK.

 This letter, initiated by registered dietitian Laura Parker and signed by dozens of academics and doctors, accused CRUK of carrying out harmful and inaccurate activities. CRUK’s funding partnership with Slimming World also forced its policy director to advocate for the movement publicly.

CRUK’s website admits that “being overweight does not mean that someone will get cancer.” Only 4 out of 10 cancers are preventable, and the link between obesity and cancer only emerges in adulthood.

Uncomfortable truth about cancer

However, the disturbing fact is that evidence suggests that obesity is an obvious risk factor. The link between weight and cancer was first established in endometrial cancer research in 1966.

By 2017, a BMJ review found that 11 of 36 cancers were related to subtypes (cancers surrounding the digestive system and female hormones). There is strong evidence to support it.

In the same year, another study also found that deliberate weight loss reduces the risk of endometrial cancer in women. Research on bariatric surgery has similar findings for other cancers, although the mechanism remains to be seen.

Cancer. Obviously. , The model suggests that the way this tissue produces estrogen, insulin, and specific immune cells plays an important role. (For example, a 2014 article expanded the link between cancer and type 2 diabetes.) The irony is, CRUK has a beautiful blog dating back to 2015.

People want facts’

CRUK’s health information manager Karis Betts agrees that the 2019 election campaign faces two significant criticisms. One is that it seems to blame the blame on the individual level. The other is to compare cancer with smoking.

She emphasized: They are different, and we are not saying they are. We think it is not the case, and we are not saying. We are trying to compare the two because both are risk factors and both require government action. But we are not saying that their weight should be attributed to one person or that people with higher weight will get cancer.

“He added that pre-election studies showed that people “overwhelmingly. I want to know the facts. Part of the problem with this activity may be the gap between the two uses of the word “cause.

 As Bates said, some people find that CRUK’s exercise requires people to take responsibility for their weight, while others worry that the activity claims that heavier people will get cancer. Obesity as a risk factor is evident at the population level but not absolute at the individual level; that is, being overweight does not necessarily or inevitably leads to cancer.

Are you reinforcing shame?

Dr. Martin Brunet is a general practitioner who often writes about the ethics of public health campaigns. He believes that publicity campaigns like CRUK may prevent people from addressing weight issues: they positively impact people’s health, but this is very controversial. , Especially weight.

By raising people’s awareness of obesity and cancer, you can make people less likely to lose weight because of the embarrassment of fat and not wanting to see a doctor. “Statistics in 2015 found that 58% of women and 68% of men in the UK were overweight or obese-many people may be discouraged by poorly written campaigns.

 It is not just cancer patients who felt the impact last year. 40-year-old author and cookbook developer Jassy Davis began treatment for eating disorders. Before each treatment, he passed the 2018 CRUK poster.

 When the 2019 campaign kicked off, he wrote on Twitter: “Improve Knowing does mean to increase the sense of shame. This makes the personal situation worse and, at the same time, justifies society.

It makes the individual the center of the struggle. “Through email, she confirmed that she supports her comment: “You can’t humiliate others because of your health.

The connection with cancer is rarely discussed, poorly understood, and difficult to resolve. The CRUK research team could have asked for “facts,” but the movement’s critics are right to ask for a little more sensitivity.

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