A Swedish study has identified a strong link between adolescent obesity in young men with development of colorectal cancer later in life. The study could shed light on the role inflammation plays in the development of cancers and why there has been an increase in the number of colorectal cancers found in increasingly younger patients.

The study looked at over 230,000 young men ages 16-20 and followed them for an average of 35 years. Taking into account both BMI and a blood sediment rate test that reflects inflammation; the group that was classified as obese was more than twice as likely to develop colorectal cancers than the group of average weight. 

The link between adult obesity and colon cancer has been known for some time; but, this is the first study to find that the link begins far earlier in life. With the increase in childhood and adolescent obesity in the US, this study could sound a warning for the future number of cases we treat.

Source: Kantor ED, Udumyan R, Signorello LB, Biovannucci EL, Montgomery S, and Fall K. Adolescent body mass index and erythrocyte sedimentation rate in relation to colorectal cancer risk. Gut. 2015

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