drdineshreddy LOGO

Obesity and Gastrointestinal Cancers: a full Guide Everything You Need to know

Obesity and Gastrointestinal Cancers

We are all aware that having excess body fat is unhealthy. However, you may not know that having more body fat increases your risk of developing gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, particularly colorectal cancer, which affects the colon and rectum.

Having a BMI above 25 (indicating overweight) or over 30 (indicating obesity) is a risk factor for most major gastrointestinal (GI) cancers. Therefore, maintaining a healthy body weight and getting regular screenings can reduce your chances of developing these cancers.

To address this, it’s advisable to consult a gastroenterologist who can provide the right guidance and treatment. If you’re looking for the best gastroenterologist in Hyderabad, consult Dr. K V Dinesh Reddy. A gastroenterologist can help you maintain a healthy weight and guide you on regular screenings to prevent GI cancer, especially if it runs in your family.

Obesity increases the risk of cancer

After smoking, obesity, or being overweight is the second leading cause of cancer. If you are overweight, you have a greater chance of getting cancer compared to those at a healthy weight.

However, being overweight doesn’t mean you will definitely get cancer. But the more extra weight you carry and the longer you have been overweight, the higher your risk becomes. If you’re overweight, avoiding gaining more weight and working on losing some can help lower your chances of developing cancer.


Obesity increases the chances of getting 13 types of cancer:

a women is felling worry about Obesity

Let’s understand how obesity is linked to various types of GI cancers!

How does obesity lead to GI cancer?

Excess body fat doesn’t just sit there, it is active and sends signals to other parts of your body. These signals make cells in your body divide more often, which may lead to cancer. The signals released by fat cells can lead to:

Estrogen Overproduction:

Excess fat tissue produces more estrogen, a hormone linked to oesophagal, gastric, breast, ovarian, and other cancers.

High Insulin Levels:

Obesity often leads to high levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in the blood. These can promote the development of colon, kidney, prostate, and endometrial cancers. High insulin levels also lead to type 2 diabetes, which itself is a cancer risk factor.

Chronic Inflammation:

 Obesity can cause chronic inflammatory conditions such as gallstones or fatty liver disease. These problems can create oxidative stress, which can harm DNA. This DNA damage raises the risk of developing cancers in the biliary tract and other areas.


Hormonal Effects

Fat cells produce hormones known as adipokines, which have the ability to either encourage or discourage cell growth. One such adipokine is called leptin, and its levels in the blood tend to rise as body fat increases. Elevated levels of leptin can stimulate abnormal cell proliferation, which is not good for health.

On the other hand, there’s another adipokine called adiponectin. People with obesity typically have lower levels of adiponectin compared to those with a healthy weight. Adiponectin appears to have the opposite effect – it may inhibit excessive cell growth and thereby offer protection against the development of tumours.


Apart from these biological effects, obesity can make cancer screening and management more challenging. 

How can you lower the risk of obesity and GI cancer?

To lower the risk of obesity and GI cancer:

By following these simple steps, you can reduce the risk of both obesity and GI cancer.

Obesity increases the chances of getting 13 types of cancer:

The Importance of Regular Screening

Nearly all colorectal cancers start as abnormal growths called polyps in the colon or rectum. These polyps can be present for years before they become cancer and often don’t cause symptoms, especially in the early stages. Colorectal cancer screening helps detect these precancerous polyps, allowing doctors to remove them before they can develop into cancer. This screening approach prevents colorectal cancer from forming. Additionally, it can detect colorectal cancer early, when treatment has the best chance of success.


Whether you’re a cancer survivor or someone concerned about the risk of developing cancer, adopting a healthy lifestyle is of utmost importance. While several factors contribute to the risk of obesity, prioritizing a healthy way of life with emphasis on exercise and diet not only yields a multitude of health benefits but also helps reduce the likelihood of various health conditions, including obesity.  

Apart from obesity, there are several other risk factors that can cause GI cancer. Identifying these factors can help you understand your risk and take steps to lower it. If you think you’re at high risk, it’s time to consult a gastroenterologist. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the questions you might have about Inguinal Hernia

Laparoscopic hernia surgery is generally safe for most patients, but not suitable for everyone. It’s a minimally invasive procedure where small incisions are made to repair hernias using a camera and small instruments. However, some medical conditions might make this surgery risky, such as severe heart or lung problems. Your doctor will evaluate your health and decide if laparoscopic hernia surgery is a safe option for you. Always consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action based on your individual circumstances.

Recovery time from laparoscopic hernia surgery varies, but most people can return to light activities within a week or two. You might experience some discomfort, swelling, or mild pain during the first few days. Strenuous activities should be avoided for about four to six weeks. Your doctor will provide guidance on when you can resume regular routines. Remember, individual recovery times can differ, influenced by factors like your overall health and the size of the hernia. Follow your doctor’s instructions closely and give yourself the needed time to heal properly. If you have concerns, always consult your healthcare provider.

After a laparoscopic hernia surgery, you’ll likely have small scars, but they’re usually less noticeable than with traditional surgery. The procedure uses tiny incisions, so the scars are smaller and fade over time. These scars might look like small dots on your skin. While they’re not entirely invisible, they often become quite faint as you heal. Taking care of the incisions and following your doctor’s advice can help minimize scarring. Keep in mind that everyone’s healing process is different, but generally, the scars from laparoscopic hernia surgery tend to be less prominent compared to other surgical methods.

Laparoscopic hernia surgery is generally safe, but like any surgery, it carries some risks. Potential complications include infection, bleeding, and damage to nearby structures. There’s also a small chance of hernia recurrence, where the hernia comes back. In rare cases, complications with anesthesia or blood clots can occur. Some people might experience pain or discomfort, and very rarely, issues like bowel injury or nerve damage may happen.

Yes, hernias can potentially come back after laparoscopic repair, but the chances are generally lower compared to traditional surgery. Recurrence can happen if the repaired tissue doesn’t heal properly or if new stress is placed on the area. Factors like a person’s age, overall health, and the type of hernia can influence the risk. Following your doctor’s instructions during recovery, avoiding heavy lifting, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the likelihood of recurrence.

Read more: