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Study Links Obesity To Greater Cancer Risk In Young People

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Some disturbing statistics about cancer in younger adults have been released.

A new study finds that young adults in the United States are facing a greater risk of developing certain types of cancer due to obesity, CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez reported.

We know that obesity puts people at risk for heart disease and diabetes. What most people don't realize is that the fat cells that come with obesity release a lot of hormone-like compounds and generate inflammation, all of which are thought to be triggers for cancer.

Obesity is set to overtake smoking as the leading preventable cause of cancer in women in the UK, a new report warns.

The new analysis from the American Cancer Society tracking dozens of state registries finds a rising cancer risk for people born after 1970.

"This is sadly as one might expect, as rates of obesity go up. And they portend a high risk of public health challenges in the years ahead," said Dr. Clifford Hudis of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

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The study shows a surprising jump for six obesity-related cancers in young adults 25-49 years old. They are: colorectal, uterine, gallbladder, kidney, pancreatic, and cancer of the bone marrow.

While death rates for most cancers have been on the decline for decades, Dr. Hudis has concerns this new trend could reverse that progress.

"The amazing thing that's happened in the last few years is that with the rise in obesity and decline in tobacco use, obesity is slated to overtake tobacco to become the single most common preventable cause of cancer," Hudis said.

MOREStudy: U.S. Cancer Death Rate Plummets From 1991 Peak

The risk for most cancers goes up with age, but the study shows young adults face about double the risk their Baby Boomer parents did at the same age for some obesity-related cancers affecting the digestive and reproductive systems.

But experts point out that obesity often comes with lack of exercise and a poor diet, both of which are also known cancer risk factors. They say it's possible to buck the cancer trend by eating healthier and working out more at an earlier age.

FLASHBACKCDC: 40 Percent Of U.S. Cancer Cases Linked To Being Overweight

The World Health Organization warns obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with people born between the early 1980s and mid '90s on track to become one of the heaviest generations on record.

Even worse, another study found that almost two-thirds of the nation's children and teens will be obese by age 35.

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