Skip to content

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Obesity Linked to Esophageal Cancer

Obesity May Make Cancer of the Esophagus More Likely
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 10, 2007 -- Obesity's health risks may include a risk of developing esophageal cancer.

That's according to a new Australian study published in tomorrow's advance online edition of the journal Gut.

The study included nearly 800 patients with esophageal cancer and 1,580 adults without esophageal cancer.

The researchers included David Whiteman, MBBS, PhD, of Australia's Brisbane Hospital.

They tracked BMI (body mass index, which compares height to weight) among people with and without esophageal cancer.

Compared with people with a normal BMI, esophageal cancer was up to six times as common among very obese people (BMI of at least 40) and about twice as likely among obese people (BMI of 30 or more).

The people who were most likely to have esophageal cancer were severely obese people with a history of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

But obesity was linked to esophageal cancer even in people who had never had GERD.

Obesity and esophageal cancer were more strongly related in men than women and in people younger than 50 than in older adults.

The study doesn't prove that obesity directly causes esophageal cancer. But that possibility deserves further study, according to Whiteman and colleagues.

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Real Cancer Perspectives
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
what is your cancer risk
colorectal cancer treatment advances
breast cancer overview slideshow
prostate cancer overview
lung cancer overview slideshow
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
Actor Michael Douglas