Obesity and Colon Cancer: Are Younger Women at Risk?

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In women, obesity and weight gain in early adulthood are associated with an increased risk for early-onset colorectal cancer — colon cancer diagnosed before age 50 — according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. For their study, published in JAMA Oncology, the researchers calculated the probability of early-onset colorectal cancer based on:

The observational research involved 85,256 women 25 to 42 enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study II. Participants, none of whom had cancer or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) at the start of the study, were followed from 1989 through 2011.

During the study period, 114 of the women developed early-onset colorectal cancer. According to the researchers, higher current BMI, higher BMI at 18, and weight gain since age 18 led to an increased risk for colon cancer. Obesity — BMI over 30 — was linked to the highest early-onset colorectal cancer risk.

Sourced from: JAMA Oncology