Obesity Linked to Deadly Form of Esophagus and Upper Stomach Cancer


A large new study reveals that obesity around the stomach area sharply increases the risk of cancer of the esophagus and upper stomach.



As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, obesity remains an underappreciated risk factor for cancer, including some of the most deadly forms of cancer.  As I also specifically discuss in my book, the rising incidence of a formerly rare form of cancer, adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and the gastroesophageal junction (the area where the esophagus and stomach join together), has been directly linked to steadily increasing levels of obesity in the United States and around the world by previous studies.  Now, newly reported data from a huge prospective public health study, the National Institutes of Health-American Association of Retired Persons (NIH-AARP) study, provides further insight into the serious impact of obesity on the risk of these formerly rare types of cancer.  This update of the NIH-AARP study appears in the current issue of the journal Gut.

The massive NIH-AARP study currently includes a whopping 218,854 volunteers, making it one of the largest ongoing prospective public health studies in the world.  Because of the enormous size of this clinical study, its findings are very likely to be highly significant.

During the course of this public health study so far, 253 cases of esophageal adenocarcinoma and 191 cases of upper stomach (gastroesophageal junction) adenocarcinoma have been diagnosed among the study’s volunteers.  After analyzing the known risk factors (including obesity) for esophageal and gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma in this huge group of research study volunteers, obesity, by itself, was found to double the risk of developing this deadly form of cancer.  Similarly, obesity, alone, nearly quadrupled the risk of gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma.  Moreover, among study volunteers with normal body weight, but with increased fat in the abdominal area, esophageal adenocarcinoma was nearly two times more likely when compared to normal-weight adults without abdominal obesity.

The findings of this new study reinforce the conclusions of similar, earlier studies that I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, and confirm that obesity, and especially obesity in the abdominal area, significantly increases the risk of these two formerly uncommon (and highly lethal) types of cancer.

At the present time, nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population is overweight or obese, and this still growing epidemic of increasing body weight shows no signs of slowing down.  As I discuss in my bestselling book, even conservative evidence-based estimates suggest that at least 15 percent of all cancer cases are directly linked to obesity, including several of the most dangerous forms of cancer.  If the incidence of obesity does indeed continue to rise from its already very high current level, obesity could, in time, overtake all other known modifiable risk factors for cancer.

If you are overweight or obese, please see your doctor about starting a sensible weight loss program, including healthy dieting and physical exercise.


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


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