Overweight and Obesity


of all new cancer cases are caused by obesity


is the estimated incidence of colorectal cancer for 2020


of cancer risk is due to environmental factors like diet

You may already know that being overweight and obese is linked to cancer but did you know that it is linked to 13 types of cancer such as; breast (post-menopause), bowel, kidney, liver, endometrial, ovarian, stomach, thyroid, oesophagus, gallbladder, pancreas, multiple myeloma and prostate (advanced) cancers.

There is consistent evidence that higher amounts of body fat are associated with increased risks of a number of at least 13 different types of cancer.

“- cancer.gov

You might be asking, how does weight influence my cancer risk?

  • Inflammation: It is more common for people who are obese, especially those with larger waists, to have chronic, low-level inflammation which has been known to increase the risk of cancer.
  • Insulin Resistance: Insulin resistance increases with excess body weight which results in the pancreas producing more insulin. Increased levels of insulin can promote the growth of cancer cells.
  • Increased oestrogen: Fat tissue also produces more oestrogen which can help cancers such as breast cancer develop.
  • Cell Growth: The way our bodies regulate cancer cell growth has been linked to our fat cells.


Although there are many risk factors associated with cancer, the two most crucial steps you can take to lower your risk is to maintain a healthy weight and to avoid using tobacco.


I gained a few grams, well let’s be honest kilograms, over the last few years but it can’t be that bad… can it?


The quickest way to determine if you are overweight or obese is to use a BMI calculator which takes your height and weight and provides you with a score. Any score above 25 indicates that you may be overweight or obese – you can calculate your BMI using our calculator in our Cancer Risk Assessment.


Did your BMI result shock you?

Our BMI result can sometimes come as a bit of a shock to us, especially since as we age, we expect to put on a bit of weight… those days of our 18-year bodies are unfortunately long gone. The journey to losing weight can often feel daunting or an impossible task but you can do it, just one small step at a time.


Here are 5 ways that can kick start your weight loss journey:

1. Swap sugary drinks for water… not a fan of that bland taste. Try spruce it up by adding fruit like squeezed limes/lemons, or berries. Feeling adventurous? Add combinations like rosemary and grapefruit or mint with citrus fruits.
2. Try implementing small amounts of physical activity into your daily routine… did you know doing household chores is considered moderate exercise? Check out our article on physical activity for more ideas.
3. Limit your portion sizes. The first few days it may feel like physical torture – like your stomach is eating itself from the inside but try to push past it… soon your body will adjust to your new portion sizes.
4. Eat lots of fruit, veggies and whole grains. For more on how fruit and vegetables can help decrease your risk of cancer, have a look at our article.
5. Not willing to give up your snacks – neither are we. Try substituting snacks like sweets and chips with a healthier alternative… did someone mention cheese?


To make sure you are losing weight in the most healthy way, it is best to get advice from your doctor before you make drastic changes to your diet and level of physical activity.

Tips to reduce your cancer risk


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