Obesity May Raise Death Risk From Tongue Cancer02/07/14
FRIDAY, Feb. 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Obese people who are
diagnosed with tongue cancer might be at increased risk of dying
from the disease, a small new study finds.
Researchers looked at about 150 people who had surgery for early
stage squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue and found that obese
patients had a five-fold increased risk of death.
Three years after surgery, 87 percent of normal-weight patients
were alive, compared with 68 percent of obese patients, according
to the findings, which were published recently in the journal
The study is the first to link obesity and increased risk of
death in patients with any type of head or neck cancer, the
They said previous studies have found an association between
obesity and worse outcomes among patients with several common
cancers, including breast and colon cancers.
"The role of obesity across several common cancers is a focus of increased attention," study senior author Dr. Clifford Hudis, chief of breast cancer medicine at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, said in a center news release. Hudis is also president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Because the study was so specific in terms of the cancer's
location in the body and disease stage, it helped clarify the
effect of obesity, another researcher said.
"Most prior research investigating the interaction between [obesity] and head and neck cancers included multiple tumor sites and disease stages," study first author Dr. Neil Iyengar, a medical oncology and hematology fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering, said in the news release. "Due in part to these confounding factors, it previously had been difficult to clearly understand the role of obesity in head and neck cancers."
"By focusing on a single site and a more select patient population, we designed our study to better identify new and relevant prognostic factors for this particular type of cancer, which could lead to further refined and tailored treatment strategies down the road," Iyengar said.
Although the study found an association between obesity in
patients with tongue cancer and higher risk of death, it did not
establish a cause-and-effect relationship.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about
obesity and cancer risk.
Copyright © 2014
. All rights reserved.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.