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Obesity ups liver cancer risk

health-and-fitness Updated: Jan 25, 2010 21:09 IST

IANS
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ObesityObesity comes with plenty of health risks but there's one that's perhaps not so well known - increased risk of developing liver cancer.

Now, a team of researchers have confirmed in mice that obesity does act as a "bonafide tumour promoter", and they have backed it up with real evidence.

"Doctors always worry about our weight, but the focus is often on cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, both of which can be managed pretty well with existing drugs," said Michael Karin of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

"However, we should also worry about elevated cancer risk. If we can reduce cancer deaths by as many as 90,000 per year, that's a lot of people - a lot of lives."

Karin's team shows that liver cancer is fostered by the chronic inflammatory state that goes with obesity and two well-known inflammatory factors in particular.

The findings suggest that anti-inflammatory drugs that have been taken by millions for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease might also reduce the risk of cancer in those at high risk due to obesity, Karin said.

The studies reported earlier showed that obese people have about a 1.5-fold increase in their risk of cancer overall, said an UCSD release.