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Expert Analysis Highlights:
A new study from the Mayo Clinic finds that obese individuals not only have a higher risk of developing colon cancer, but they also have worse outcomes after treatment and lower survival than normal-weight individuals.
Many studies have previously shown that obesity is associated with a greater risk of developing colon cancer, but obesity’s effect on long-term outcomes after the cancer has been treated were not known. For this new study, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., looked at outcomes for nearly 4,400 patients who participated in seven colon cancer therapy trials.
The men and women in the trials had stage I or stage II colon cancer and were evaluated for eight years after being treated with surgery and chemotherapy. The researchers found that 36% of the 4,381 patients studied had recurrences of their cancer and 42% had died. The overall risk of death was found to be 19% higher for moderately or very obese patients compared with patients of normal weight. Very obese was defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more, and moderately obese was defined as a BMI from 30 to 34.9.
There were differences based on gender as well. The most severely obese men had the highest risk of death — 35% higher than normal-weight patients. Paradoxically, women who were only moderately obese had a 25% higher risk of death, but women who were very obese had an 11% greater risk.
In this YouTube video above from the Mayo Clinic, one of the researchers discusses the study’s results and concludes that obese colon cancer patients should be given advice on how to lose weight to lower their risks of adverse outcomes.
For more information about colon cancer and its treatment, go to our companion website www.patientresource.net
1. Sinicrope FA, Foster NR, Sargent DJ, O’Connell MJ, Rankin C: Obesity is an independent prognostic variable in colon cancer survivors. Clinical Cancer Research 2010;16:1884-1893.
2. Murphy TK, Calle EE, Rodriguez C, Kahn HS, Thun MJ: Body mass index and colon cancer mortality in a large prospective study. American Journal of Epidemiology 2000;152:847-854.