NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
January 20, 2004 • Volume 1 / Number 3 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Featured Article

Obesity Associated with Higher Cancer Risk among Veterans

In a study of 4.5 million patients hospitalized at Veterans Affairs hospitals over a 27-year time period, researchers found an increased risk for nearly 20 different cancers in those men who were obese. The study appears in the January/February issue of Cancer Causes and Control. Claudine Samanic and co-workers, all from the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, examined medical histories from computerized discharge notes from Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country. They assessed records for over 3.6 million white men and over 800,000 black men. Among obese veterans, they found an increased risk for cancers of the colon and kidney, which have been reported in numerous other studies, but also an increased risk for a number of less common cancers, such as male breast, lower esophagus, gallbladder, thyroid, extrahepatic bile duct, and connective tissue cancers, as well as malignant melanoma, multiple myeloma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and acute myeloid leukemia.  Read more  

Director's Update

Energy Balance:
The Complex Interaction of Diet, Physical Activity, and Genetics in Cancer Prevention and Control

At a time when nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population is considered overweight or obese, compelling evidence suggests that excess body weight is a risk factor for many cancers. However, in terms of weight-related factors, body weight alone does not completely determine an individual's ability to prevent or survive cancer. Instead, cancer researchers use the term "energy balance" to describe the complex interaction among diet, physical activity, and genetics on growth and body weight over an individual's lifetime and how those factors may influence cancer risk.

NCI has supported epidemiologic research in large cohort and case-control studies looking at the effects of weight, diet, physical activity, and cancer outcomes. These and other studies suggest that being overweight or obese increases the risk for postmenopausal breast cancer, colon cancer, adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, endometrial cancer, renal cell carcinoma, and several other cancers. Other studies, including some basic animal and cell culture studies, have explored the mechanisms by which obesity may influence cancer risk. Clinical intervention studies involving small groups of patients have placed people on specific diet, activity, and weight-control regimens to see how those factors influence cancer risk. This research is promising and should yield great insights into how these particular behavioral and genetic factors contribute to the cancer burden.  Read more  


This NCI Cancer Bulletin is produced by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI, which was established in 1937, leads a national effort to eliminate the suffering and death due to cancer. Through basic and clinical biomedical research and training, NCI conducts and supports research that will lead to a future in which we can prevent cancer before it starts, identify cancers that do develop at the earliest stage, eliminate cancers through innovative treatment interventions, and biologically control those cancers that we cannot eliminate so they become manageable, chronic diseases.

For more information on cancer, call 1-800-4-CANCER or visit http://www.cancer.gov.

NCI Cancer Bulletin staff can be reached at ncicancerbulletin@mail.nih.gov.