People who are overweight in Coventry and Warwickshire are being urged to shed the pounds to reduce their risk of getting cancer. NHS Coventry and Rugby, NHS South Warwickshire and NHS Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have issued the plea as new research shows that obesity now causes more cases of four common cancers in the UK than smoking.
The CCGs are backing Cancer Research UK’s nationwide campaign launched this month to increase awareness of the link between obesity and cancer. Obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK- more than 1 in 20 cancer cases are caused by excess weight*
Evidence from Cancer Research UK shows that bowel, kidney, ovarian and liver cancers are more likely to have been caused by being overweight than by smoking tobacco. Excess weight causes around 1,900 more cases of bowel cancer than smoking in the UK each year. The same worrying pattern is true of cancer in the kidneys (1,400 more cases caused by excess weight than by smoking each year in the UK), ovaries (460) and liver (180)*
Extra body fat sends out signals that can tell cells to divide more often and, similar to smoking, can cause damage that builds up over time and raises the risk of cancer.
In 2017, the proportion of adults who were obese nationally was 29%, higher than in recent years. The West Midlands featured in the top three areas in England for the highest levels of adults who are overweight or obese. Latest figures show that there were 135 obesity-related hospital admissions in Coventry and Warwickshire+.
Jim McMorran, Cancer Lead in Coventry and Warwickshire, said: “We are urging people across Coventry and Warwickshire who are overweight or obese to take action and reduce their risk of cancer. As smoking rates have fallen across the country, obesity levels continue to rise putting more people in danger of developing cancer.
“The risk is higher the more weight a person gains and the longer they are overweight for, but the good news is small changes that are kept up over time can make a real difference.
“We would encourage anyone who is overweight or obese to contact their GP practice for important advice about losing weight safely by eating a healthy, balanced diet and regular physical activity. Your GP can advise on healthy lifestyles and exercise and point you in the direction of any local initiates or groups that take place.
“Maintaining a healthy weight is not only beneficial in relation to reducing your cancer risk, but also in reducing the risk of other significant conditions such a type 2 diabetes so it’s really important to eat well and exercise regularly.”
For more information about tackling obesity visit https://bit.ly/2YIZycO
Further details on Cancer Research UK’s campaign are available at https://bit.ly/2XjjEZq
*Cancer Research UK – https://bit.ly/2Rd70cy
** Cancer Research UK - https://bit.ly/2XjjEZq
+ NHS Digital - https://bit.ly/2H8rdfu