Helpline
Speak to a member of our Information Support Team
(Call-back service – 24h answer machine)

020 8973 0011

or email nurse@beatingbowelcancer.org
Beating Bowel Cancer Community

General Discussion

margaret ensor

Obesity

Every day on the radio I hear an advert that obesity is the second cause of cancer? Apart from one woman everyone I know with cancer was normal weight, active and eat fairly healthy diets! I was 5f 2ins and weighed a steady 53/54 k! I was active and my diet has always been mostly home cooked fresh food. I know it's not good to be over weight but how many people out there think obesity causes cancer. I would be interested in your replies. I lost 10k with cancer and gained 15k!! Love Margaret.

kitti

I dont really fit any of the boxes for being at risk. Im 39 and mines rectal ( which apparently more men get so im the wrong sex)and I personally think stress has been a contributing factor in mine. I have never smoked, very rarely drink, dont really eat a lot of meat ( mainly only chicken) I probably did eat some processed food but not in excess. I have horses and have had since being a child so have always stayed reasonable fit and active. I really wish i had a definitive answer but what i do know is my lifes always been quite hectic, busy and some would say stressful. My theory is on 18th Nov 2016 i lost my mum suddenly and it was a huge shock, i then from mar/apr 2017 started with symptoms. I may be wrong but i do wonder if my immunity dropped after the loss of my mum and cancer took advantage of this.... i dont know if thats even possible but i cant help but wonder. Hugs :x::x::x:

Barbara

@margaret ensor @kitti Obesity is the second highest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. Just as all smokers don’t get cancer, so all obese people won’t. And similarly non smokers and normal weight people will get cancer. But the research on obesity is very robust and anyone wishing to reduce their risk should also reduce their weight if their BMI is over 25 (as a rough guide). I lost 3 1/2 stone after initial diagnosis and although it didn’t prevent recurrence, I suspect it has extended my survival as I am much fitter and healthier - other than being inoperable and incurable of course!

Alwyn

It's so difficult to understand why @margaret ensor I have never been obese (5'1" and 8 stones) vegetarian, non smoker, moderate drinker and a lover of the gym. The only thing I could identify was a time of work and personal stress when I ended up with shingles. I wonder if my immune system was then compromised leaving the way open for cancer. Who knows. :x::x:

Lizalou

Hi @margaret ensor @kitti and others

So not fair...I too was 5ft 2 and well under 9st (maybe it is our height that is a problem!) Definitely stressed, but the latest research says that stress is not a factor.

Is this another reason why bowel cancer is not 'sexy'.....we are all overweight, stuffing ourselves with processed meat and watching daytime TV.......

jinnyp

I have always struggled with my weight, and I smoked and drank when I was younger albeit not (usually) to excess! I have never been into processed foods, have always cooked from scratch with fresh ingredients and been fairly active.

I have had a lot of stress at various times in my life, underwent 14 cycles of IVF to get my girls and everyone in my immediate family has cancer; I lost my younger sister 5 years ago to breast cancer so who knows??!!

I think that all of the hormones I had during the IVF years probably haven't helped but expected to get a cancer like breast or maybe ovarian as a result but ended up with bowel cancer. My Dad also had bowel cancer and has always been very fit, normal weight and no undue stress.

I think that we all have the propensity to develop cancer at some stage in our lives but something may act as a trigger in some people although it doesn't always seem to be the same thing. Perhaps we get to a point where our bodies are vulnerable and the little bleeder takes advantage? It certainly seems that way sometimes.
I know when I was an oncology nurse looking after children the cancer often seemed to be preceded by some kind of infection which may or may not have been coincidental.

I think there is mileage in the reduced immunity theory and obesity can contribute to many problems - I do find the adverts that are currently flooding the radio about obesity irritating though but perhaps am oversensitive :) I guess it's my own fault then :P

Bear G

The key thing here is ‘preventable’. I believe half of Bowel cancers have no known cause and so would be excluded from this analysis.
:x::x:

Lizalou

Hi @jinnyp My mother (aunt and great grandmother ) had breast cancer so I was always aware of that, even had regular specialist checks. So, sods law, I ignored the fact that my father had bowel cancer. I think that I blamed my symptoms of tiredness and weight loss on my stress levels and didn't think of seeing my GP .

brighty08

This argument does make me angry. And I think the media has to be careful as I feel it gives a certain group of society a false sense of security that they are untouchable as far as cancer is concerned. I think this is especially so for younger people.

I’m coming to this from now being the wife of someone of 44 who has been recently been diagnosed with advanced bc. He has never smoked, doesn’t drink alcohol (at all) and was very slim and fit. Plus no bc in the family. While I had breast cancer at the age of 34. Again slim (size 10/12, have never been overweight), have never smoked, drank very little alcohol and eat well. So I definitely think something else is going on that we don’t fully understand yet and tbh believe stress to be a part of it.

Chelts

It seems that everything can cause cancer these days, so I just ignore all the warnings, else I wouldn't eat anything, do anything or go anywhere.
As they say.... cancer isn't prejudiced

DianeS

I always think if we truly knew what causes cancer we would most certainly have a cure. It’s a very complex disease, and each persons cancer is different. I think most of the articles I have read, suggest that being a good weight and healthy can only ‘prevent’ the same as exercise. If I ever looked at a reason for my cancer diagnosis, my tendency is to think towards a breakdown in my immune system following a very bad episode of shingles. Hence I tend to look after my gut and immune system as best I can. :x::x::x::x::x:

Bear G

Further to my earlier point, and supporting others such as DianeS, this is taken from the Beating Bowel Cancer website - “In fact, according to the World Cancer Research Fund, scientists estimate that almost half of all bowel cancer cases in the UK – over 20,000 new cases a year – could be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices.”

So therefore more than half aren’t preventable, that’s not to say we shouldn’t be encouraging people to try to reduce these preventable risks for all cancers, which is what the campaign from CRUK is trying to do by highlighting that obesity is one of the major preventable causes of cancers.

It seems like a sensible campaign to try to reduce obesity, after all there are lots of other health risks associated with being very overweight.

:x::x:

sweetcheeks

Interesting to read ,
I’ve gone over again and again, why Geoff got this , he is not over weight, doesn’t drink or smoke and always exercises , we only met 10 years ago , but although he says he eats healthy, it wasn’t my idea of healthy if that makes sense , he thinks portion size it more important than quality, so I do wonder if that contributes,
I’ve also thought back to my children growing up and what we ate , never giving BC a second thought,
I guess we all have questions that we may never get answers too 😪
:x::x::x::x:

Clancy

I tend to agree with @DianeS, and think that low immunity is a trigger. I had the most horrendous chest infection back in 2012, which then triggered a reactive arthritis, confirmed by a rheumatologist. I had pain in every joint and muscles in my body, I don't believe my body really recovered from that, it lasted 6 months. Or maybe that was the start of my bowel cancer, and i didn't have the obvious signs.:x::x:

Alwyn

Yes @Clancy like @DianeS I had a horrible case of shingles about eighteen months prior to my diagnosis. I do wonder if my immune system was then compromised and perhaps made me more vulnerable to cancer. :x::x: