You might think you’re far from having to worry about cancer, especially colon cancer. However, if you are overweight or obese, your risk bumps up a few years…or decades! With obesity on the rise in young people—37% of adults age 20 to 30—the instances of gastrointestinal cancer is increasing. You can’t afford to wait until you’re older to become proactive with your health.
Obesity and Gastrointestinal Cancers
The rate of gastrointestinal cancers in young people has increased significantly in the past several years. Colorectal cancer, which has long been thought of as a late-onset problem, has grown in people under age 50 by 1.5% every year since 2002. According to a study by Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus a link has been found between the rise in gastrointestinal conditions in young people and obesity. In obese people between the ages of 18 and 49, the annual percentage of colorectal cancer surgery increased by 13%.
Obesity has been tied to colorectal, gastric, pancreatic, and esophageal cancers. The study looked at various age groups and the instance of these gastrointestinal cancers in obese and non-obese people. In short, the greatest increase of all four cancers was in obese people across every age group with colorectal and gastric cancers being most prominent in people ages 18 to 49. With the occurrence of cancer in young people coupled with the percentage of obese people rising to 40% in the U.S., it is more important than ever to address the issue of obesity.
There are many factors that contribute to obesity, both uncontrollable and controllable. Genetics, medical problems, and age can affect your overall health, weight included. Genetics may affect where you carry your body fat, your metabolism (how efficiently your body turns food into energy), and the rate at which you burn calories. Certain medical conditions and/or their treatments can cause weight gain.
As you age, hormonal changes, reduced activity, and lower muscle mass can make it more difficult to achieve and maintain healthy weight. Although there are factors you cannot control, there are some, and maybe even more, that you can. You might be surprised to learn that even though you come from a long line of obese people, it may not be genetic; it might be lifestyle. Families tend to share similar diets and habits, so if your parents eat primarily unhealthy food and don’t exercise, you probably do the same. Likewise, your grandparents probably do the same, and your children, and so on.
Breaking an unhealthy lifestyle cycle is arguably the hardest part of weight loss. Along with diet and exercise, lack of sleep, smoking, and alcohol are linked to obesity. To attack obesity, it has to happen on all fronts. It isn’t enough to step up activity without changing your diet or to eat healthy food but not reduce the portion size. It is also important to note that no matter the uncontrollable factors, almost every person is capable of counteracting them with an adjustment in the controllable factors. It is definitely harder for some people, especially those who are more prone to obesity, but it is almost never impossible.
How NEW You Can Help
You might just need some help! If you have tried other weight-loss programs, or if you have adjusted your diet and increased activity, but can’t seem to get over the hump, NEW You provides some tools to help you get there. Our options are non-surgical and part of a holistic approach that offers support and continued care to help you make a lasting change, not just a quick fix.
All of the endoscopic procedures we offer are minimally invasive and fully reversible. They are designed to accompany a weight loss program and assist in the efforts you’re already making. Available options include ORBERA®, which is a weight loss balloon that takes up space in the stomach to promote portion control. It is removed after six months. AspireAssist is another procedure where a tube is inserted to remove calories from the stomach before they can be absorbed by the body. There is no set timeframe for removing the tube, and many people find it helpful to keep in place until they are comfortable with their dietary habits and new lifestyle. Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty or ESG is a third option that involves suturing part of the stomach to reduce its size. The key difference between ESG and a surgical sleeve gastrectomy is that it is done through the mouth with no incisions, no part of the stomach is removed, and the procedure is done same-day.
If you want to reduce your risk of gastrointestinal cancer and make a lasting lifestyle change, NEW You can help. We offer free consultations to discuss our weight-loss program and determine if an endoscopic solution might be right for you. Determine to take the first steps toward a lasting change, and contact us today!