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Bariatric Surgeon India

How does obesity increase the risk of liver cancer ?

Obesity has been identified as a global epidemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) because, over the past few years, obesity and related health problems have been increasing rapidly in most parts of the world, including India. While heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, etc. have been linked to being overweight, in some recent studies, experts discovered obesity can affect liver health, which may result in liver cancer, especially hepatocellular carcinoma. 

Not only liver cancer, but research also shows that obesity increases the risk of developing several cancers, which include colorectal, post-menopausal breast, uterine, esophageal, kidney, and pancreatic cancers. Experts are working hard to find out exactly how obesity increases the risk of cancer development. However, experts believe that the inflammation triggered by visceral fat (fat around the vital organs) may be the underlying cause. 

In this blog, Dr. V Pareek, one of the best weight loss surgeons in Hyderabad, added his insights to explore the link between obesity and liver cancer. Findings from recent studies and scientific research aim to brief its extensive impact on public health.

How does obesity cause liver cancer?

Obesity-related complications, such as inflammation and insulin resistance, are the primary causes of liver cancer. 

Inflammation is the natural response of our body to an injury or disease. A minor inflammation develops around the wounded area, repairing the damaged tissue and promoting healing. 

Similarly, the visceral fat around organs like the liver occupies more space and doesn’t allow room for oxygen supply, which triggers inflammation. This long-term inflammation can reproduce uncontrollable cells and may damage the cells around the organ, which increases your risk for cancer. 

Furthermore, this inflammation can interfere with the ability of your body to respond appropriately to insulin. This is referred to as insulin resistance. When this happens, your body produces more insulin to compensate for the deficiency.

The increased production of insulin triggers the production of more cells, which can lead to cancer. 

Furthermore, increased insulin production affects the regulation of hormones such as estrogen, which means it produces more estrogen. Higher estrogen levels increase cell production, which increases the risk of cancerous tumour growth.

Obesity and Liver cancer

In the United States, a study was conducted on 1.57 million adults who were obese, and out of them, around 2200 adults were diagnosed with liver cancer. This was published in 2016 in a Cancer Research journal, which states that being overweight and having a large waist circumference can increase the risk of liver cancer. In addition, having type 2 diabetes might also increase cancer risk.

According to these studies, overweight has a 21% increased risk of liver cancer, and obesity has an 87% increased risk of liver cancer. This means that the more you weigh, the higher the risk.

If people are obese and have type 2 diabetes, then the risk of developing liver cancer is even higher compared to people who are obese without any complications. Liver cancer is a rare complication, and even if the risk of developing it were to double, its incidence would still be relatively low.

According to experts, things are not favourable for people with liver cancer, even if the condition is diagnosed in its early stages, so it’s important to take steps to prevent it.

Cancer and obesity: What can you do?

Maintaining a healthy weight is the best way to reduce the risk of developing cancer. Here are a few tips to prevent gaining excess weight.

  • Exercise regularly to stay active. Aim for at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day.
  • Take healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, peas, and animal protein (meat and fish).
  • Limit or stop drinking alcohol 
  • Get proper sleep

Your body may not function properly if you are obese or overweight. If non-surgical treatment fails to reduce weight or help you maintain a healthy weight, you can opt for bariatric surgery, one of the best forms of weight loss.

If you are obese and looking for the best weight loss solutions, consult Dr Venugopal Pareek, a renowned bariatric surgeon in Hyderabad. Call +91 91777-77715 to book an appointment.

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