GPs' crucial role in exposing obesity link to cancer

GP advice can help people make the link between obesity and cancer risk, says Cancer Research UK.

By Joanne Ellul

This was in response to a survey conducted by the charity that found 97% of people do not list being overweight as a cancer risk. The survey of nearly 4,000 people revealed that, in comparison, two-thirds of people surveyed mentioned quitting smoking as a way to reduce cancer risk.

Sara Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK, praised the crucial role GPs have played in building awareness about  the harmful effects of smoking and in helping people to quit. She added they could also make a real difference by raising awareness of the link between weight and cancer by explaining how those extra pounds affect hormone levels that can increase their risk of the disease.

'GPs shouldn't underestimate how valuable the advice they give their patients can be - a few well chosen words can make all the difference,' she said.

Ms Hiom added: ‘It may be hard for people to make the link between obesity and an increased risk of cancer because we generally associate having the disease with being underweight.'

However, in the survey, over half of people said that food and diet was important and nearly a third understood that exercising more would help.

Dr David Haslam, a GP and member of the National Obesity Forum, explained that people do not make the obvious link between obesity and cancer because 'it's counter intuitive. There's no obvious link between obesity and cancer. You have to know your physiology to make that link.'

He emphasised that GPs should raise awareness of the risks of obesity. He warned against scaremongering in terms of cancer risk to obese patients, but said that routine testing should be carried on those at risk.

After smoking, being overweight or obese is one of the biggest cancer risks. Cancer Research UK estimated that more than 13,000 cases of cancer each year could be prevented if everyone maintained a healthy weight.

medical.temp@haymarket.com

 


More news from 5 August

Exclusive: GP warning over swine flu diagnosis by phone
DoH attempt to rejuvenate practice-based commissioning flops
NHS Alliance suggests GPs are more open about pay
GP success in patient survey appeal raises hopes
Tories pick GP to fight Devon seat
London stroke centres to open next year
Infant deaths higher in deprived communities

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Five GP practices a week inspected by CQC during pandemic second wave

Five GP practices a week inspected by CQC during pandemic second wave

The CQC has inspected five GP practices a week in England since the second wave of...

Pregnant women and under-18s will not be offered COVID-19 vaccine

Pregnant women and under-18s will not be offered COVID-19 vaccine

Pregnant women, children and under-18s will not be recommended for routine COVID-19...

GP training: How an audit e-portfolio log entry is assessed

GP training: How an audit e-portfolio log entry is assessed

The second of two articles on audit during GP training looks at how the quality improvement...

GP training: Writing up an audit for your e-portfolio

GP training: Writing up an audit for your e-portfolio

In the first of two articles on how to write up an audit, a typical e-portfolio entry...

UK ups order of 95% effective COVID-19 vaccine by 2m doses

UK ups order of 95% effective COVID-19 vaccine by 2m doses

The UK has increased its order of the 95% effective Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to 7m...

Coronavirus: Key guidance GPs need to know about COVID-19

Coronavirus: Key guidance GPs need to know about COVID-19

GPonline provides an overview of the key guidance relating to coronavirus, including...