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Obesity, High Blood Pressure Linked to Type of Kidney Cancer

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David L. Katz, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, says the report "provides compelling evidence linking obesity and hypertension to renal cell cancer."

Katz, who reviewed the report for WebMD, says the strength of the study is the large number of patients who were followed. "What is most impressive is the volume of data collected and the extensive follow-up," Katz tells WebMD. "One hopes in epidemiology that if you look at enough people for long enough time, the patterns that emerge approximate the truth."

Katz says a possible shortcoming in the report is the fact that the men in the study were construction workers; it is not clear whether the incidence of cancer among that group was markedly different than the general population, or whether the incidence of cancer in the group was related to occupational exposures, he says.

But he says that obesity has been implicated in a host of conditions. Though there is a "worsening epidemic" of obesity in the U.S., there is as yet no clearly defined strategy for intervening and treating the problem, he says.

"The ultimate value in understanding how disease develops is the opportunity it provides to interrupt the causal pathway," Katz says. "With hypertension, we do a pretty good job of identifying it and treating it. But with obesity, we have a lot more work to do. Now, we have one more reason to develop a concerted national strategy for dealing with the problem."

 

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