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ACG: Obesity Increases Risk of Colorectal Cancer in Women

Study finds obesity confers a higher risk than smoking

TUESDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity -- defined as a body mass index of 30 or above -- is the most significant predictor of colorectal cancer in women and is even a stronger risk factor than smoking, according to research presented this week at the 72nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology, in Philadelphia.

Joseph C. Anderson, M.D., of Stony Brook University in New York, and colleagues examined data on 1,252 women who underwent colonoscopy.

Researchers found that obesity was the highest attributable risk factor for colorectal cancer, with elevated BMI accounting for one-fifth of the significant polyps detected by colonoscopy. Of patients with colorectal cancer, 20 percent were obese and 14 percent were smokers.

"Given the increasing number of obese patients in the U.S., identifying them as high risk may have important screening implications," Anderson said in a prepared statement. "While obesity is positively associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, patients who lower their body mass index could potentially reduce their risk of developing the disease in the future."

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