Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Germany. Experts agree: Your cancer screening and early detection are vital. But also your lifestyle. And: a look at your body shape – doctors may soon be able to use this to identify your cancer risk. The way you are built could impact the type of cancer you might get, according to a European study. This is the result of new research. Which morphologies are particularly at risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Body shape and cancer risk are linked
The study involved 221,934 women and 118,218 men. The data was collected between 1990 and 2000. At the time of the survey, the study participants were between 35 and 65 years old and came from nine European countries.
Researchers from the University of Regensburg have found that certain types of cancer are particularly common in four different morphologies. The head of the study, Dr. Anja Sedlmeier and her team the so-called principal component analysis. “Well, this principal component analysis is actually a kind of dimensionality reduction technique. It means you try to put many different factors into a statistical model and then reduce it all down to a few components, which then explain a big part of the connection,” says Dr. Anja Sedlmeier.
The combination of the following six different characteristics played an important role:
- the weight
- body mass index
- waist circumference
- waist circumference
- waist to hip ratio
The researchers then came up with the four body shapes through principal component analysis.
Four body shapes and their associated cancer risk
The four body shapes can be linked to 17 different types of cancer.
“The first body shape describes people who have an excessive amount of body fat. You can talk about anything from mildly overweight to severely obese. It actually means that there is an increased amount of body fat on whole body. This figure has been associated with an increased risk in ten different types of cancer,” explains Dr. Anja Sedlmeier.
These include cancer of the uterus, cancer of the esophagus, cancer of the liver, cancer of the kidney, cancer of the gallbladder, cancer of the colon, cancer of the rectum, cancer of the marrow bone (multiple myeloma), breast cancer (postmenopause) and pancreatic cancer.
“The second type is mostly taller people with a straight physique. The waist and hips are actually about the same width. With the second body shape, the waist really plays the most important role – this type has been associated with a total of six different types of cancer,” Dr. Anja Sedlmeier continues.
These include skin, thyroid and breast cancer.
“The third body shape is like this, there are also taller people, but they mainly have fat accumulation in the abdominal area. So you can see that the waist is relatively large, and the so-called waist ratio The hips are also quite high. The arms and legs are relatively thin, but the middle of the body is fuller,” explains Dr. Anja Sedlmeier.
There is an increased risk of cancer for these 12 types of cancer: cancer of the esophagus, cancer of the colon, cancer of the kidney, cancer of the larynx, cancer of the lips, cancer of the oral cavity, cancer of the throat, cancer of the skin , lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer and thyroid cancer cancer. There is one exception: if the people tested have never smoked, there is no risk of cancer of the larynx, mouth and throat.
“The fourth body type is very rare. It is characterized by an athletic physique, so we actually assume that it is also the athletic people who have the same height and the same hips. We found no association with body types. cancer here,” adds dr. Anja Sedlmeier added.
To help you better understand the study, Dr. Anja Sedlmeier is particularly keen on one thing: “We really tried to find out the pure effect of these body shapes on the development of cancer. sometimes asked: ‘Yes, but sportsmen also get cancer.’ Of course, other factors also play an important role in the development of cancer. A healthy lifestyle is important to reduce the risk of cancer. No tobacco, low alcohol consumption, physical activity, low sitting and a balanced diet. But we also found through the study that body shape has a very big impact on the development of cancer.”
The study is a cornerstone for future research
“The study is the cornerstone of much further research. We now want to determine body shapes even more precisely and characterize them even more precisely. We are now looking at how much muscle mass there is in each of these four body shapes. How much is there fat?And above all, let’s look at what type of fatty tissue there is and where exactly it is.There are different types of fatty tissue: the fatty tissue that is actually under the skin and the most deep fatty tissue that surrounds the organs. We are trying to do everything to characterize them even more precisely and are building the research for the next few years on the basis of the first study, “explains Dr. Anja Sedlmeier.
The purpose of the study
But what is the next step? Does your doctor really tell you at any point: please show me your body and I’ll tell you your cancer risk? “The aim of the study is that at some point we want to give family doctors a kind of risk score, where you can already see from the body shape what kind of cancer the risk is possibly just increased. For this to be really preventive measures can be initiated and more information can be provided by doctors. We try to make everything as convenient as possible so that you can start cancer screening in good time. That would be our dream and our big goal for the next few years,” says Dr. Anja Sedlmeier further.
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