Eight more cancer types are being linked to obesity, bringing the number of cancers associated with excess weight to 13. Experts from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), have concluded that obese people are at risk of acquiring more cancer types than previously established.

The IARC discovered that excess weight or obesity is linked to eight more cancer types including gall bladder, liver, meningioma (a brain tumor), multiple myeloma (a blood cancer), ovary, pancreas, stomach and thyroid cancers. The group of 21 independent international experts analyzed over 1,000 studies on cancer risk and excess weight. This led to the conclusion that there is sufficient evidence in humans that the absence of excess body fat reduces the risk of these types of cancer. Meanwhile, a limited number of evidence shows that the absence of excess body fat also reduces the risk of fatal cancer of the prostate, cancer of the breast in men and cancer of B cells (a white blood cell that produces antibodies).

Strong evidence was already available to link five cancers to being overweight or obese as the same researchers found in 2002. These cancer types include cancer in the breast, colon, esophagus, kidney and uterus. Together, these 13 cancer cells account for 42 percent of all new cancer diagnoses.

Researchers also found out that an estimated 640 million adults worldwide were obese in 2014 and 110 million children and adolescents were overweight in 2013. Also in 2013, overweight and obesity were accounted for an estimated 4.5 million deaths worldwide.

The research concludes that the higher the body mass index (BMI) of an individual is, the higher their risks are for the newly linked cancer types.

“The burden of cancer due to being overweight or obese is more extensive than what has been assumed,” Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (WUST) cited Dr.Graham Colditz, IARC Working Group as saying said in a statement.

“Many of the newly identified cancers linked to excess weight haven’t been on people’s radar screens as having a weight component,” the cancer expert added.

Colditz noted that lifestyle factors have a significant impact in reducing cancer risk. He said that public health efforts in combating the disease should focus on things that people have control over including a healthy diet, proper weight, exercise and smoke prevention. The new evidence emphasizes how proper lifestyle could significantly reduce the chances of acquiring cancer and other non-communicable diseases. These findings are published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday.

What do you think of obesity now being linked to eight more types of cancer? Let us know in the comments section below.