Extra weight does not protect patients who have cancer

I have heard patients tell me they didn’t want to lose weight, because if they got cancer, they wanted those extra pounds to protect them from the ravages of cancer. The thought is that cancer causes weight loss, and if you have more weight, you might live longer. A study in JAMA refutes this myth.

Individuals with obesity or overweight had a higher risk of pancreatic cancer. The risk was highest in those who were obese between the ages of 20 and 40 (2 1/2 times higher). Pancreatic cancer is one of the most tragic diseases, since it is usually diagnosed late in the disease. Many patients have metastatic spread at the time of diagnosis, resulting in little chance of cure and in early death.

What is most interesting is that obese patients with pancreatic cancer had a shorter survival. So there was no protective effect of being overweight. They also developed the cancer earlier in life, 2-6 years earlier.

Losing weight early in life is the best way to prevent many forms of cancer. Delaying weight loss can be costly for your health.

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