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November 5, 2013 | 2 minute read

Really? Cancer Links to Obesity? Yes.

Last month I spoke on obesity and cancer prevention at a conference focused on medical innovations. The attendees were highly educated leaders – executives, investors, clinicians and entrepreneurs – deeply involved in all aspects of the healthcare and medical field.Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 12.51.17 PM

So I was surprised – whenever I explained my topic – at the many times I heard: “I didn’t realize there’s a link between obesity and cancer.” I had expected these medical leaders and innovators to know about the obesity-cancer link. We know overweight and obesity is a cause of 117,000 cases of cancer every year in the U.S. But this lack of awareness is not unusual.

AICR’s most recent cancer risk awareness survey found that fewer than half of Americans know about that link. The survey participants identified pesticide residue on produce and cancer genes as causes of cancer far more often than obesity. Yet, obesity is second only to smoking as the most important risk for cancer in the U.S.

This is important. Many people believe they have little or no control over whether or not they’ll get cancer. According to another AICR survey, of all health concerns, cancer is Americans’ number one fear.

So AICR continues to work to spread the word on obesity and cancer. This Friday at the closing session of our research conference, we’re going to hear the latest from researchers on this topic. Scientists will be talking about the current evidence on how diet, physical activity and obesity leads to increased cancer risk to the molecular mechanisms that drive that link, understanding how biological changes lead to cancer is important for prevention and treatment.

We’ll be sharing on Twitter (#AICR13) and this blog what we learn. But you don’t really need to wait for all the research to begin taking steps to lower your risk. Read about how you can reduce your risk or join our New American Plate Challenge for weekly challenges, tips and recipes.

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