Does weight control decrease the risk of cancer?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Being overweight or obese may increase your risk of several cancers, including those of the esophagus, pancreas, colon and rectum, breast (for women after menopause), endometrium (the lining of the uterus), kidney, thyroid and gallbladder. It's less clear whether losing weight—or simply not gaining—also cuts cancer risk. However, some studies do suggest that men and women who gain the least weight during adulthood have less risk of colon cancer. Other research suggests that women who gain the least amount of weight during adulthood have less risk of endometrial cancer and of breast cancer after menopause.

The most conclusive way to test if avoiding weight gain will decrease the risk of cancer is through a controlled clinical trial. At present, there have been no controlled clinical trials on the effect on cancer related to avoiding weight gain. However, many observational studies have shown that avoiding weight gain lowers the risk of cancers of the colon, breast (postmenopausal), endometrium, kidney, and esophagus. There is limited evidence for thyroid cancers, and no substantial evidence for all other cancers.

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.