In contrast, only in men is a high body mass index (BMI) clearly associated with a higher colon cancer risk. However, there is no relation between the body measures of the investigation and rectal cancer risk. These results from the European-wide EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) were published by Tobias Pischon of the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE) and his colleagues.

“Our results support the hypothesis that abdominal body fat is especially important for development of colon cancer. This agrees with our observation that BMI is rather inappropriate for predicting colon cancer in women because the relation between BMI and waist circumference is not as close as in men. This is probably because men gain weight primarily by increasing abdominal body fat, whereas in women, body fat normally also accumulates in other parts of the body”, says Heiner Boeing, head of EPIC Potsdam.

“Why increased abdominal fat raises the risk of colon cancer is currently unknown. The insulin resistance associated with abdominal obesity and the resulting increase in circulating insulin levels may possibly play a role. Other potential mediators are leptin and adiponectin. We are currently examining within EPIC these and other biomarkers for their possible association with colorectal cancer,” he adds.

Height was also rather strongly associated with cancer risk in both sexes. Women taller than 167.5 cm had a 79 percent higher chance of developing colon cancer than short women (<156.0 cm). In men, between the shortest (<168 cm) and the tallest ones (=180.5 cm), this risk increased by 40 percent.

MEDICA.de; Source: German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke (DIfE)