Obesity crisis set to increase cancer cases

In collaboration with the Press Association

The number of cancer cases could double over the next 40 years in response to the UK's unfolding obesity crisis, an expert has said. According to Professor Martin Wiseman, medical and scientific adviser at the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), it is essential that people keep at a healthy weight and refrain from smoking if they want to minimise their risk of developing cancer. However, he predicts that one in three women and one in two men will be obese by 2050 - and as such the incidence of cancer is set to rise dramatically.

"The evidence now shows that, after not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the most important thing you can do for cancer prevention," he said in advance of a conference held by the Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO). "This means that if rates of obesity continue to rise then this will have serious consequences for cancer rates in the UK." Professor Wiseman added that while obesity might not be the only factor behind the predicted surge in cancer cases, it is likely to be one of the main causes. Cancer rates in the UK are predicted to rise as the UK population ages. Worryingly, a poll conducted by YouGov recently shows that just 50 per cent of people in the UK realise that there is a link between obesity and cancer, the Telegraph reported today. Liz Baker, Cancer Research UK's senior science information officer said: "These figures are certainly concerning - Cancer Research UK welcomes initiatives to highlight obesity as an important cause of cancer. It is estimated that currently more than 13,000 cases of cancer in the UK could be avoided each year if everyone maintained a healthy bodyweight. "To help address this, Cancer Research UK and the charity Weight Concern have joined forces to develop Ten Top Tips to help people maintain a healthy weight safely. These tips have been designed to fit into your daily life and are based on the best scientific evidence available."