News / Health

Doctors Report Rise in Obesity-Related Cancers in US

Carol Pearson

The American Cancer Society says in its annual report that fewer Americans are dying of cancer, but doctors are seeing more patients with cancers linked to obesity, including pancreatic and kidney cancers. And while breast cancer patients are living longer, the risks of developing this type of tumor are rising along with the growing rates of obesity.

For many people, a cancer diagnosis is no longer a death sentence.

Former U.S. presidential candidate Herman Cain was diagnosed six years ago with stage-four colon cancer. Tumors had already spread to his liver. Cain was given a 30 percent chance of survival. But after having surgery and undergoing chemotherapy, Cain says his cancer went into remission.

The American Cancer Society's annual report shows that death rates from cancer in the U.S. have continued to fall. Between 2004 and 2008, cancer death rates for men went down nearly two percent a year; for women they declined about one-and-a-half percent each year.

Over a longer period of time, from 1990 through 2008, cancer death rates plunged almost 23 percent for men and just over 15 percent for women. That translates to a million lives saved.

But doctors are reporting more cases of esophageal, pancreatic, liver and kidney cancer. Obesity is a risk factor for these types of cancers and for breast cancer as well. It's also a risk factor for a number of chronic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes.  

At the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian focuses on the connection between diet and chronic diseases.

"Most of my focus has been on diet, because the bang for your buck for changing your diet is really profound," Mozaffarian noted.

And Dr. Mozafarrian believes that just as growing numbers of Americans have quit their smoking habits, they can beat the obesity trap, and avoid the cancers and other diseases that result.

"We've had huge success in this country with smoking," added Mozaffarian.  "We've gone from about 55 percent smokers to 25 percent smokers in about 40 years."

For close to 50 years, the U.S. government has adopted policies to discourage people from taking up smoking and to encourage smokers to quit.  The policies include education campaigns, high taxes on tobacco product sales and laws against selling tobacco to anyone under the age of 18. The new Cancer Society report says the resulting drop in lung cancer deaths accounts for almost 40 percent of the decline in overall cancer deaths.

Dr. Mozaffarian says public health officials should use the anti-smoking campaign as a model to get people at risk of obesity to improve their diets.  

"It's not going to happen in a year, but in a decade or two, if we really have a sustained understanding of the impact of diet on health in this country and the economic burdens that it causes, we really could have a sea change, and relatively quickly," said Mozaffarian.

And the result, he predicts, will be a decline in the number of obesity-related deaths.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid