Published on October 11, 2016

Cancer Risk and Weight, Is there a Link?

The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about 20 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States are related to body fat, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition. Excess body weight contributes to as many as 1 out of 5 of all cancer-related deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.

Holzer is proud to announce that the Holzer Therapy and Wellness Center is now open for business, offering medical wellness programs to assist individuals with fitness and wellness goals.

“We are proud to be able to offer wellness services for our communities,” stated Michael Hemphill, MAT, PTA, CAE, Wellness Coach, Holzer Therapy and Wellness Center. “Our staff is excited to meet with individuals to discuss the various fitness opportunities and information available at our Center. We are committed to helping our friends, family, and neighbors live life well.”
Research has shown that being overweight or obese is clearly linked with an increased risk of many cancers, including cancers of the:

  • Breast (in women past menopause)
  • Colon and rectum
  • Endometrium (lining of the uterus)
  • Esophagus
  • Kidney
  • Pancreas

Being overweight or obese might also raise the risk of other cancers, such as:

  • Gallbladder
  • Liver
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Cervix
  • Ovary
  • Aggressive forms of prostate cancer

In addition, having too much belly fat (that is, a larger waistline), regardless of body weight, is linked with an increased risk of colon and rectal cancer, and is probably linked to a higher risk of cancers of the pancreas, endometrium, and breast cancer (in women past menopause). Some body changes that occur as a result of weight loss suggest it may, indeed, reduce cancer risk. For example, overweight or obese people who intentionally lose weight have reduced levels of certain hormones that are related to cancer risk, such as insulin, estrogens, and androgens.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines for the average healthy adult:

  • Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • Strength training. Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.

Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes activities such as running and aerobic dancing. Strength training can include use of weight machines, your own body weight, resistance tubing, resistance paddles in the water, or activities such as rock climbing.

All exercise programs should be approved by a primary care provider before starting. “It’s important to begin an exercise program that is at a comfortable level for the individual,” stated Hemphill. “Discussing fitness goals with your primary care provider is an essential part of wellness.”

For more information on the Holzer Therapy and Wellness Center, please call (740) 446-5502 or visit

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