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By on July 1, 2019

Obesity & Cancer Linked


Poor eating habits, lack of exercise and high rates of obesity among over-the-road (OTR) truckers are well-established facts. Recent studies within the medical community have established strong indications that poor diet leading to obesity significantly increases the risk of cancer. In my capacity as the Medical Director of the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund, a review of charts revealed some very scary corroborating facts.

Based on recent observations, many OTR drivers are being diagnosed with cancers at younger ages than I have ever seen. Many if not most are either obese and/or are heavy smokers who substitute tobacco for food. Without question, smoking is the number one cause of cancer in truckers. That’s why I created a stop-smoking program using Chantix. See my Taking Healthcare to the Cab article on pages 12-13 of the March-April RoadKing, or call our hot-line for more information 800-257-9214.

Diet related obesity is associated with many cancers in 12 critical organs. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that we see cancers of different types from the brain to the rectum. It is interesting to point out obesity-related cancers are not typically found in the lungs. But obese drivers who try to keep the weight off by smoking (or who smoke for any reason) are getting lung cancer and cancers in other organs at alarming rates. Just remember, smoking is still number #1 but obesity is most likely #2 according to many researchers. Putting on pounds and smoking are sure ways to kill yourself prematurely, especially if you’re a trucker.

Stem to Stern

You may ask, why does gaining weight cause cancer from the brain to the rectum or as we say in medicine “from Stem to Stern.” Well, it has to do with weight-related insulin and hormone imbalances along with weight-related inflammation.

  • Insulin – Excess weight causes the need for increased insulin levels which may cause faster cell growth (cancer). Across the board, and especially in pancreatic, kidney, and colorectal cancer, insulin has long been suspected to be a cancer-causation factor.
  • Hormone Imbalance – For obese women, too much estrogen is usually the problem. Hormone replacement is often considered when hormone levels drop for a variety of clinical reasons and typically with aging. With increased body fat, there is a higher potential risk for breast cancer. This is especially true after menopause, when the ovaries no longer produce estrogen. Studies suggest that obesity in menopause can increase cancer risk by up to 60%.
  • Weight-related Inflammation – The potential for weight-related cancer can increase with inflammation associated with the extra pounds.

So are insulin and estrogen a double threat? The answer is yes! The high levels of insulin in obese females increase the risk of breast cancer 2-½ times when compared to those with lower blood insulin. Estrogen imbalance with or without insulin can be related to some cancers.

If you’re overweight, you should be aware there are now 12 cancers associated with obesity. Would the cancer you may now have been preventable by just watching your diet? Well, that may not be entirely true since the genetic factor still plays a big part with any disease. So stay tuned. In future articles, we’ll look into what role genetics play in these 12 cancers. 

For additional information, I suggest you access the great work by Dr. Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Action. 


About Warren Eulgen

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