Anyone who enjoys sport has an advantage: the researchers were unable to identify an increased risk of cancer in people with an athletic build.
The Cancer Division of the World Health Organization (WHO) has been working on a Europe-wide study in collaboration with a team of researchers from the University of Regensburg in Germany. They found out how different the risk of cancer is in four different body shapes. The results were published in the “British Journal of Cancer”, as reported by the “German Health Portal”.
The four body shapes were calculated mathematically from the six anthropometric traits. Anthropometry is the study of calculating the mass of the human body. This includes height, weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, hip circumference and waist-to-hip ratio.
For this purpose, data from the “European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition” study, EPIC for short, was used, in which more than 340,000 women and men from nine European countries were examined between 1990 and 2000. At the time, the people were all between 35 and 65 years old.
Four body shapes – different risks
The first body type has a high percentage of body fat, so tends to be overweight. An increased risk of cancer was found for ten different types of cancer: bone marrow, colon, breast, kidney, rectum, liver, uterus, oesophagus, gallbladder and pancreas cancer.
The second body shape describes tall people with a straight physique. There is a higher risk of five different types of cancer. These include breast, skin and thyroid cancer.
Body shape number three are people who have fat mostly around the abdomen. There is an increased risk of twelve different types of cancer and an overall cancer risk. The types of cancer are: pancreatic, lip, oral cavity, stomach, oesophagus, colon, skin, larynx, oesophagus, thyroid, lung, kidney and prostate.
The fourth and final body type is an athletic physique – the researchers did not identify an increased risk here.
Anja Sedlmeier from the University of Regensburg explains: “Our results indicate that the current cancer burden in connection with obesity and height is probably underestimated and the derived body shapes provide new insights into cancer development and diagnosis.” She sees the “derivation and definition of different body shapes as a new and promising approach”. (lrc)