Call Now to Speak with a Care Manager Speak with a Care Manager Now: (615) 656-4999

The Likelihood of Cancer Among Obese Seniors

By Jennifer Thompson, 9:00 am on

Cancer is one of the most common diseases among seniors, which is why scientists trying to understand the disease have conducted decades of research. After all this time, researchers now know there are numerous genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors that increase the risk of cancer, including obesity. Nashville home care providers will explain the correlation between obesity and cancer so families can help seniors reduce these risks.

Does Obesity Cause Cancer?

One specific study published in the New England Journal of Medicine followed 900,000 adults for 16 years. The study conclusively showed that the participants who were the heaviest were more likely than their normal-weight counterparts to develop, and die from, cancer. After analyzing the study further, researchers concluded that 14 percent of cancer deaths among men and 20 percent among women could be attributed to excess weight. Moreover, new studies have linked obesity as a causative agent for as many as 12 types of cancer. While obesity is certainly not the sole cause of cancer, it can play a pivotal role.

How Can Obesity Cause Cancer?

The general hypothesis explaining how obesity is linked to cancer is that fat cells encourage the growth or activation of abnormal cells that form cancerous tumors. One theory is that extra estrogen produced by fat tissue in both men and women might be the root cause of cancer cell growth. Elevated estrogen levels are linked with breast, endometrial, and other kinds of cancers. Another suggestion is that the insulin resistance common in obese people may promote the development of tumors. Fat cells are known to produce adipokines (an assortment of hormones) that trigger and inhibit cell growth, and if left unchecked, these hormones can rapidly produce abnormal cells that cause cancer.

Can My Senior Loved One Reduce the Risk of Cancer?

The best way to reduce your senior loved one’s risk of cancer is to help him or her maintain (or get back to) a healthy weight and BMI. While certain risk factors for cancer such as heredity can’t be changed, factors like weight can. Losing weight may be easier said than done, but adopting a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise can certainly help your senior loved one reduce his or her risk of cancer.

Ensure your loved one receives the help and encouragement he or she needs to maintain health and happiness by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. Our holistic Balanced Care Method, which promotes overall wellbeing through diet, exercise, and a sense of calm and purpose, is included in all of our live-in and part-time care plans at no additional cost to our clients. To learn more, call a friendly Care Manager today at 615.656.4999 and schedule your free consultation.