The relationship between visceral obesity and colorectal cancer

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SUMMARYThe prevalence of obesity continues to rise globally and physicians and healthcare systems have to prepare for rising rates of obesity-associated disease. Aside from cardiovascular disease and diabetes, recent evidence suggests a strong association between obesity and the development of cancer, including colorectal cancer. Using BMI as a marker for obesity, excess body fat is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer; however, this relationship appears to be stronger among males and more consistent for colon rather than rectal cancer. Epidemiologic literature evaluating the risk of obesity on colorectal cancer survival using BMI is less consistent. Recent evidence suggests that visceral fat plays a greater role in the development of disease. Current research on the effect of visceral obesity on colorectal cancer outcomes is in its infancy, but may drive a new wave of practice for this ever-growing population of colorectal cancer patients.

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