(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – This year’s Annual Report to the Nation on the status of cancer in the United States highlights the increased cancer risk associated with excess weight (overweight or obesity) and lack of sufficient physical activity (<150 minutes of physical activity per week). The report was provided through collaboration between the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR).

The authors estimated annual percent changes in incidence and death rates (age-standardized to the 2000 U.S. population) for all cancers combined, and for the leading cancers among men and among women. And demographic information such as the proportion of U.S. children, adolescents, and adults who are overweight, obese, insufficiently physically active, or physically inactive, were used in the analysis.

The study showed that, among men and among women in most racial and ethnic groups, death rates from all cancers combined decreased from 1999 to 2008. These data were consistent with the continuing decline that began in the early 1990s. From 1999 to 2008, death rates for most cancer sites including the four most common cancers (lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate) concomitantly decreased; incidence of prostate and colorectal cancers also decreased during this time period. The authors also observed a decline in incidence of lung cancer among men (1999 to 2008) and among women (2004 to 2008). Breast cancer incidence decreased from 1999 to 2004 but did not change from 2004 to 2008. Most importantly, the authors wrote that incidence increased for several cancers, including pancreas, kidney, and adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, which are associated with excess weight.

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The authors concluded that “Although improvements are reported in the U.S. cancer burden, excess weight and lack of sufficient physical activity contribute to the increased incidence of many cancers, adversely affect quality of life for cancer survivors, and may worsen prognosis for several cancers.”