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Losing weight reduces risk of developing cancerous growths, new study reveals

The investigators found that, compared to people who were at a "stable" weight, the weight loss that occurred in adulthood was associated with a 46 percent reduced risk for colorectal adenoma.

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girl measuring her waist checking if she has had any weight loss - isolated over a white background

 By Georgia Lambert via SWNS

Losing weight can slash your risk of cancer as it reduces the incidence of developing growths in the colon which could lead to tumors, a new study reveals.

The emerging research suggests that obese people who lose weight may reduce their chances of later developing colorectal adenoma.

This is an unpleasant type of benign polyp in the colon or rectum that can turn cancerous.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer and the third leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women in the US.

Doctors commonly recommend weight loss for overweight and obese people, and although doing so has its obvious benefits, the question of whether weight loss can reduce the chance of developing colorectal adenoma has remained unanswered until now.

In this study, the research team used data from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial to assess weight gain and loss over three periods of adulthood, in relation to the development of colorectal adenoma.

The Screening Trial enrolled 154,942 people aged 55 to 74, who lived in the US.

The program then tracked their health from 1993 to 2001, to evaluate the effectiveness of different screening approaches in preventing death from a pool of different cancers.

This particular study used the data from participants in the screening arm of the trial who received a colorectal cancer screening test at baselines, and then again three or five years later.

The investigators found that, compared to people who were at a "stable" weight, the weight loss that occurred in adulthood was associated with a 46 percent reduced risk for colorectal adenoma.

This statistic was particularly true among the participants who were initially overweight or obese.

The study also found that weight gain in adulthood was linked with an increased chance of adenoma - particularly for a weight gain of greater than 6.6 pounds over a period of five years.

Interestingly, the findings for weight loss and gain appeared stronger among men than they did for women.

The study's senior author, Dr. Kathryn Hughes Barry, an assistant professor and epidemiologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, explained the importance of the study's findings.

She said: "Our findings suggest that avoiding weight gain in adulthood may help lower someone’s chance of developing a pre-cancerous growth called a colorectal adenoma, which may, in turn, reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

“Based on our findings, we would not recommend weight loss for all adults. But the results suggest that overweight and obese adults may benefit from weight loss.”

The report was published by Oxford University Press in the JNCI Cancer Spectrum journal

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