Young obese at higher risk of cancer: Study

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ISLAMABAD: Obesity which often leads to cancer in older adults is now reported with increasing frequency in young adults, a new study said.

According to the researchers, obesity increases the risk of 13 different cancers in young adults.

The meta-analysis describes how obesity has shifted certain cancers to younger age groups, and intensified cellular mechanisms promoting the diseases.

“Young people with body mass indexes (BMIs) over 30 are more likely to experience aggressive malignancies,” said lead author of the study Nathan A. Berger, Professor at the Case Western Reserve University.

Obesity can permanently alter a young person’s likelihood of developing cancer. Even after losing weight, the cancer risk remains.              “If you are obese, you are at a higher risk of cancer. If you lose weight, it improves the prognosis and may lower your risk, but it never goes away completely.”

Obesity causes changes to a person’s DNA that can add up over time. These changes include genetic flags and markers — epigenetic modifications — that increase cancer risk and may remain long after weight loss, the researcher said.

According to the researcher, in 2016, nearly one in 10 new breast cancer cases and one in four new thyroid cancer cases were in young people aged 20-44.