Women who have excess fat around their waists, so-called central adiposity, have an increased risk for colon cancer according to a study in the March 2000 issue of the International Journal of Cancer.
Studying 24,000 women over 10 years, researchers in Australia measured waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratios (WHT) ratios at the beginning of the study. During the ten years, there were 212 colon cancers. Women whose waist measurements were larger than their hips, a sign of central adiposity, were about 30% more likely to have colon cancer than women with narrow waists. Larger waist measurements (waist circumference) increaed colon cancer risk by about 15%.
There was some evidence that additional central fat predisposed women in the study to cancers in the proximal colon or the first section of colon. Given their increased risk for colon cancer and the stronger possibility that the cancer might be located near the beginning of the colon, women with excessive waist fat probably should consider screening tests like colonoscopy that examine the entire colon.
Other studies have showed a similar increase in colorectal cancer risk for men with excess waist fat.
An article about the study is available from Reuters Health..