Being overweight as a trigger for cancer

According to the Cancer Research Center, obesity as a trigger for cancer could soon replace smoking as the main cause.

According to the cancer expert Professor Dr. Otmar Wietler could soon replace the increasing obesity problem in western industrialized countries with the harmful risk factor of smoking as the main cause of cancer. Because not only cigarette consumption but also obesity increases the risk of malignant tumor diseases.

Obesity is increasingly becoming a massive health problem in the western industrial world. More and more people suffer from obesity and obesity. This is due to an unhealthy lifestyle, too little exercise and an unhealthy and high-calorie diet. The obesity problem will soon replace smoking as the main cause of cancer, said cancer specialist Professor Otmar Wiestler from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. The reason for this is a massive increase in the overweight problem, says Wiestler. According to the latest Robert Koch Institute surveys, 41 percent of men and 29 percent of women in Germany are overweight. The trend continues to increase. The doctor expects more cancer overall in the future because people have an increasing life expectancy and are getting older. However, the expert also expects a higher cure rate through improved individual therapies and cancer drugs.

450,000 new cancer cases this year According to Prof. Wiestler, around 450,000 new people in Germany were diagnosed with cancer in 2010. About half of the patients successfully managed cancer therapy and were cured. Smoking was the main cause in around 30 percent of diseases. In the Federal Republic of Germany, approximately 200,000 people die of cancer each year. Cancer is the second leading cause of death after cardiovascular disease.

Cancer expected to rise Overall, scientists expect cancer to rise. According to the German Cancer Research Center, this has to do with the fact that people are getting older. "Cancer is a disease that occurs primarily in old age." The reason for this is not "that we are now affected by new risk factors for cancer that we did not know about," said cancer researcher Wiestler. In recent years, researchers have seen a rapid increase in cancer cases associated with being overweight as a risk factor. These cancers are mainly esophageal, colon, breast, kidney and pancreatic cancer. While it is suspected that the higher rates of cancer due to the increase in obesity are related, the exact reason has not yet been clearly established. "This is an important topic for research in the next stage," said Prof. Wiestler.

Individual cancer drugs
The cancer expert is convinced that the chances of a cure will improve overall in the future. In the meantime, the scientists "had a relatively good idea for the majority of all cancers" what changes took place in the genetic material and in the patient's cells. "This makes it possible to develop drugs that target exactly such changes." More and more drugs are being designed that can be individually tailored to the patient. Because the cancers also differ within the individual types of cancer. For this reason, cancer must be treated differently. Forward-looking treatment options will enable many patients to live with cancer for many years, even if a specific type of cancer is probably no longer curable. According to the expert, the medication would also have to be combined with chemotherapy or radiation or with each other and with a third component. “This will allow cancer in the future to be brought to a stage where you can live with it for many years - even if you may not always be able to completely eliminate or cure it. And overall, the healing rates will also increase. "(Sb)

The German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) is the largest biomedical research facility in Germany with more than 2,500 employees. Over 1,000 scientists at the DKFZ are researching how cancer develops, recording cancer risk factors and looking for new strategies that prevent people from getting cancer. They are developing new approaches that can be used to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully.

Also read:
OECD: Every sixth German is obese
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Child obesity: victim of lifestyle

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