Cancer Incidence and Mortality due to Excess Body Weight in Ireland: An Analysis of 10-year data.

13 Sep 2017
The Irish Medical Journal
Patients and public
Type of resource: 

Excess body weight (EBW) increases the risk of specific cancers. The prevalence of EBW has risen significantly in Ireland over recent decades. To highlight the impact on cancer, and to inform future policies, we calculated the proportion of cancers in Ireland that were attributable to EBW using the Population Attributable Fraction (PAF). This fraction was then applied to Irish incidence and mortality data for specific cancers from 2003-2012 to estimate the number of new cancers and cancer deaths attributable to EBW. We found that each year in Ireland, approximately 800 new cancers and 300 cancer deaths are attributable to EBW. The greatest attributable risk of cancer was seen for the upper digestive tract and endometrium, whilst breast and colorectal have the greatest numbers of attributable cancers. EBW is a major cause of cancer, responsible for 4.5% of all cancers in Ireland. Public awareness of this significant preventable risk must improve.