New Research Finds That Obesity Increases the Risk of Cancer - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New Research Finds That Obesity Increases the Risk of Cancer

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We know that fat can cause heart disease and diabetes but a new study is linking fat to cancer.

Researchers have found that obesity actually increases the risk of cancer but if you lose weight that can have a big impact.

Solomon Chavez seems like any healthy 16-year-old, but just a few months ago he felt tired and noticed something very worrisome

"I started bruising on this hand and it kept going and going all the way up to here. And then we went to the hospital and they told us it was leukemia." says Solomon Chavez

The good news is childhood leukemia may be cured and Solomon is getting chemotherapy.

A discovery by Dr. Steven Mittleman made may also help Solomon.

"Well most people are aware that obesity increases your risk of diabetes and heart disease but what most people don't realize is that it also increases your risk of cancer. Obese individuals have a higher risk for dying from all sorts of cancers." says Dr. Steven Mittleman

In addition to studying how fat cells affected the risk of cancer, Dr. Mittleman studied how the fat cells affected the treatment of cancer.

"Well obesity has a lot of effects and many of them are due to the fat tissue, some of these effects may actually cause fat tissue to promote cancer and promote its resistant to treatment. We found that leukemia cells actually migrate into and once in the fat tissue its harder for the cancer killing drugs to work against them." says Dr. Mittleman.

Dr. Mittleman realized the flip side of those findings might be that being thin and fit might help prevent leukemia saying "Well we're looking at a lot of things like whether a weight loss intervention like a diet and exercise might actually help kids once they have leukemia."

And increase the chances of cure

While studies on that possibility are developed, Dr. Mittleman and Solomon know there's no down side to eating healthy.

Although Solomon can't lose weight or exercise intensely while he is undergoing treatment he plans to change his lifestyle once he recovers; knowing that may very well prevent problems in the future.

"Living healthy is a better way to live life"