If you have this extremely common health condition, it can increase your risk of cancer by 30%

By | March 18, 2024

Concerned female doctor discusses a diagnosis with a young female patient. The doctor has a serious expression on her face.

An alarming new study has found that a medical condition that nearly a third of Americans have – metabolic syndrome – is linked to a 30% increase in the risk of several types of cancer.

A Chinese study of 40,000 people aged around 50, each with factors of metabolic syndrome, was recently published in the medical journal Cancer. After measuring participants’ metabolic health over four years, the study examined which participants developed cancer over the next ten years.

According to NPR, about 30% of participants with metabolic syndrome developed cancer within the ten years of follow-up.

If that sounds scary, experts say, it probably should. Here’s what you need to know about metabolic syndrome and its possible correlation with cancer.

Related: 5 Crucial and Surprising Secrets Your Blood Type Can Tell You About Your Health

What is the metabolic syndrome?

“The metabolic syndrome consists of several components that are easy to monitor,” Dr. Anton Bilchik, MD, PhD, surgical oncologist, chief of medicine and director of the Gastrointestinal and Hepatobiliary Program at Providence Saint John’s Cancer Institute, says Procession. These are:

  • High cholesterol

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • High blood sugar

  • High body fat percentage

  • Large waist

  • Obesity

  • Low HDL levels (low “good” cholesterol)

Metabolic syndrome is typically diagnosed if and when a patient has three or more of the above factors.

Related: The One Thing You Should Never Say to Someone Who Has Just Been Diagnosed with Cancer

Does metabolic syndrome cause cancer?

Medical professionals pay for the research findings and methods terribly attentively as they try to find the answer to this question. “This study is unique because this is a large prospective cohort study, unlike most studies that retrospectively show a higher risk of people developing cancer with metabolic syndrome,” says Dr. Bilchik. “It also evaluates the trajectory of metabolic syndrome over a four-year period.”

“This is the first study to examine the specific pattern of metabolic syndrome over time,” Dr. Cheng-Han Chen, MD, board-certified interventional cardiologist and medical director of the Structural Heart Program at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California, adds. “These results highlight the importance of early and widespread screening for metabolic syndrome in the general public. If we can influence early intervention and control of the components of metabolic syndrome, we may be able to reduce the risk of developing many types of cancer. “

Related: The No. 1 Sign of Cervical Cancer Most People Miss

That said, the study shows a link between metabolic syndrome and cancer, but not a definitive causal link – although it is still important to consider.

The new study also measured C-reactive protein (CRP), which Cleveland Clinic notes has been linked to high levels of inflammation. The study found that high levels of CRP, when combined with metabolic syndrome, were “significantly associated” with participants ultimately being diagnosed with breast, colorectal, endometrial and liver cancer.

It is also important to note that at least one other study showed links between patients with metabolic syndrome who were not overweight and yet showed an increased risk of cancer. So don’t assume that you’re out of the woods just because your BMI is at a healthy level. range.

Related: This is the early cancer symptom that experts say is most often missed

Is metabolic syndrome reversible?

The good news about metabolic syndrome is that for many patients it is at least somewhat under their control, and with the help of a doctor and lifestyle changes, you may be able to reverse some of the damage.

“Normalizing blood sugar, cholesterol, body fat and blood pressure through exercise, a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet without an excess of processed foods are all options for reducing the risk of developing cancer,” advises Dr. Bilchik.

Related: The Best Snack to Combat Metabolic Syndrome, According to Registered Dietitians

How can I lower my risk of cancer?

The advice of Dr. Chen to lower your cancer risk is simple but effective – and when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to keep your cancer risk low.

“There are many things we can actively do to reduce our risk of future cancer,” says Dr. Chen. These are:

The last point is critical, and it is something you should discuss regularly and extensively with your doctor, because everyone’s needs, health history, genetics, and family history are different.

Next one, Do you want to be a cancer survivor? Here are 10 things you can do today to help beat the disease

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