Overweight/Obesity-Associated Cancers

Rates of overweight and obesity have almost tripled since the 1960s. In 2018, 70% of Texas adults were classified as overweight or obese, with Texas having the 10th highest rate of adult obesity in the United States. Overweight/obesity is known to increase the risk of at least 13 different types of cancer: post-menopausal breast cancer, colorectal cancer, kidney (renal cell) cancer, endometrial cancer, thyroid cancer, pancreatic cancer, multiple myeloma, liver cancer, ovarian cancer, adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, gastric cardia (upper stomach) cancer, gallbladder cancer, and meningioma. While not all cases of these cancers can be attributed to being overweight or obese, excess body weight is a key modifiable risk factor and is thought to contribute to 8% of all cancer cases, second only to tobacco use in preventable causes of cancer.

The link between overweight/obesity and cancer risk is complex and varies with the specific type of cancer, but is thought to involve increased insulin and hormone levels and chronic inflammation. While some overweight/obesity-related cancers, such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and kidney cancer are common, others are relatively rare. The extent to which being overweight or obese increases the risk of cancer also varies with cancer site.

To quantify rates and trends of overweight/obesity-associated cancers in Texas, age-adjusted incidence rates for Texas were calculated for 2013–2017. Note that the correlation between individual-level BMI data and cancer risk was not assessed. The average annual percentage change (AAPC) in age-adjusted incidence rates from 2008–2017 was used to assess whether rates increased, decreased, or remained stable over time. 


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