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Obesity Compounds Leukemia Risk

Considering the staggering obesity epidemic is having such a devastating effect on the number of Americans who are diagnosed with cancer, it's not terribly surprising to learn being overweight can more than double an older woman's risk of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), an often fatal cancer that starts in the bone marrow in immature cells that normally should become white blood cells.

Over the course of this 14-year study of more than 37,000 Iowa women, 200 developed leukemia, including 74 who were diagnosed with AML. The numbers really tell the story.

  • The risk for contracting AML was 90 PERCENT higher in overweight women age 55 and older who had a body mass index (BMI) of 25-29.
  • In obese women older than 54 and with a BMI higher than 29, the risk increased to as much as 140 PERCENT.

Looking only at the U.S., experts estimate some 33,000 new cases of leukemia will be diagnosed this year, and slightly more than a third will be AML victims. Virtually all of these patients are ages 65 and older, and for about 75 percent of them this disease is fatal.

More than 150 people are diagnosed EVERY HOUR with some form of cancer in this country. Experts predict more than a half-million Americans will die from it by year's end. But there are a number of proven strategies at your fingertips you can use today to avoid cancer:

EurekAlert November 5, 2004

Yahoo News November 11, 2004

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