Robust findings exist for obesity contributing to colo/rectal, esophageal, renal, breast, endometrial and prostate cancer development (National Institutes of Health [NIH, 2017; Arnold et al, 2015; Pergola and Silvestris, 2013) Likewise, gallbladder, liver, gastric, pancreas, ovarian, thyroid cancers, in addition to meningioma and multiple myeloma, have shown links to obesity (NIH, 2017; Lauby-Secretan et al, 2016; Arnold et al., 2015; Pergola and Silvestris, 2013). Further, recent advancements in targeted antineoplastic treatment modalities have helped to identify tumor growth regulator variances associated with excess adipose cells (De Porgola et al, 2013). Several effects of adiposity on cancer development have been identified and include hyperinsulinemia with increases in IGF-1 and other pro-inflammatory molecules such as leptin (Garcia-Jimenez et al, 2016; De Pergola and Silvestris, 2013; Parekh et al, 2012;). Lower adiponectin and increased sex hormones are among other key drivers in cancer development and metastasis (De Pergola and Silvestris, 2013; Parekh et al, 2012).
Additional challenges related to obesity and cancer include, but are not limited to therapeutic dosing of chemotherapy and the management of toxicities (Griggs et al, 2012). In addition to increased cancer development rates, cancer recurrence and survival rates are adversely effected by obesity (Arnold et al, 2015). Advanced Practice Nurses (APRNs) are challenged to meet growing healthcare demands. APRNs are uniquely positioned to provide novel strategies for weight reduction and increased physical activities for improving patient outcomes and reducing the incidence of cancer diagnoses. With mounting evidence linking obesity as a major contributor for developing certain cancers, equipping healthcare providers and the public alike, with this powerful knowledge regarding obesity and its links to cancer, can prove to be one of the greatest modifiable risk factors known. This may prove to be as significant as smoking cessation efforts were on reducing the incidence lung cancer.
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