Lose Weight to Reduce Cancer Risk?

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Research published in the January 22 issue of Cell confirmed that obesity in mice increased the risk of cancer especially liver cancer. In their study the researchers gave 2 week old mice DEN ( a chemical carcinogen) and divided them into two groups. One group was fed a normal diet that was relatively low in fat and the other group a diet high in fat. The high fat group developed more liver cancer than the normal diet group. To further confirm the link between obesity and liver cancer they gave 2 week old mice DEN that were fed a normal diet but were prone to obesity. This group also developed more liver cancer so the researchers concluded that it was not necessarily the high fat diet but something about the obesity state. They also gave DEN to 3 month old mice on a high fat diet and they also developed more liver cancer. Usually mice on a standard diet given DEN at this age without the extra push of phenobarbitol do not develop liver cancer. But the obese mice developed liver cancer without the extra push of phenobarbitol. The researchers traced the source of the obese cancer producing effect to a rise in inflammatory factors and obese mice lacking these did not show the same rise in liver cancer nor the same distribution of fat in the body. This study suggests that anti-inflammatory drugs used for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease may also reduce the risk of cancer for those at high risk of liver cancer because of obesity. .

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