Saturday 11 May 2024

Obesity link to 22 types of cancer in humans should concern cat caregivers

Although, unlike human medicine, where cancer is a reportable disease and long-term data are collected there are no comprehensive databases for cancer cases in pets which makes it difficult to talk meaningfully about a possible link between increased cancer rates in cats and increased obesity levels but I want to discuss that. That said, there are claims that cancer rates are rising but it is anecdotal.

And I want to discuss this topic because in the newspaper today there is an article based upon a study which concluded that obesity can increase the risk of more than 30 different types of cancer. This is not saying that obesity per se causes cancer but that obesity exacerbates the prevalence.

The research was led by a team at Lund University in Sweden. Fat cells send out signals that increase inflammation, make extra hormones and growth factors, which increases the risk of tumours.

We know that obesity in humans and in cats can have severe health impacts in other areas i.e. cause numerous other diseases. It is really important for cat caregivers to ensure that their cat maintains an ideal weight. It's so important to health.

But in this article I want to briefly touch on this study for humans. But let's say right away that human anatomy is very similar at a fundamental level to cat anatomy. I have always argued that the causes of illness in humans can often be the same causes of illness in cats. And therefore when I see a study about human health, I tend to think of the health of our cat companions and how we can ensure we protect it.

The study I'm referring to was presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Venice. It concerned 4.1 million adults who were tracked over four decades.

The study confirmed established findings that obesity causes 13 types of cancer including bowel and breast cancer. However, the study identified a further 19 types of cancer associated with weight gain including cervical cancer and some skin cancers.

These forms of cancer make up 40% of all new cases in people affecting tens of thousands of UK citizens annually.

Until this study was published, it was thought that only 25% of cases were obesity-related.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in pets. As I said I can't correlate the rise in feline obesity which has been described as an obesity epidemic and a concomitant rise in cancer diagnoses but I think it is there.

Also about 47% of dogs over the age of 10 develop cancer and for cats it is 32%. But this information comes from personal experience is not comprehensive data as they are estimates. The numbers could be higher.

Female cats are at a higher risk compared to males especially if they've not been sterilised. And the risk of developing mammary gland tumours increases with age with the highest incidence in cats between 10-14 years of age.

My suggestion would be that veterinary clinics need to create a comprehensive database on cancer in domestic cats and dogs. 

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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