The link between a person’s genetics and what type of cancer they develop is often very simple, or as simple as being overweight. But this isn’t always the case.
Larger people have more factors in common, such as more family genetics (such as family history of certain cancers), higher levels of certain fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A or B12), which can alter certain genes, or even the amount of exposure to certain chemicals in their upbringing or diet. But what happens when someone starts eating whole foods, consuming a healthy range of calories, and exercising regularly? There is an increased risk-of-poverty risk for obese children and adolescents – but it becomes even more important for those of older age, who might struggle to get out of their homes from the effects of increased weight.
What the research says
This is the first time that scientists have looked at the genetic influence in overweight and obese people without being able to determine whether or not it leads to weight regain.
They found that people who are obese are more likely to carry genes that cause breast and prostate cancers later in life, rather than obesity-related genes. And when these researchers looked at genes that were known to cause some specific cancers, they found that these same genes were more likely to be carried by subjects who became obese.
But, according to study author Rebecca Gee, “what you do have to be aware of is that genes can influence outcomes, rather than causes. And that’s another reason why it’s important to look at individual genes not through a group effect. What you’re really looking at is the population effect of a gene. So while there’s a genetic correlation to weight gain, it’s not something that’s a good thing to do. It’s better to target obesity specifically.”
What the research says: A potential risk factor for prostate cancer
Previous studies, including this one, have shown that if you have a family history of breast and/or prostate cancer, you might be at greater risk for having a recurrence, so it’s important to see if you’re at a higher risk of having cancer recur.
The scientists did not look at cancer recurrence specifically, but rather cancer recurrence overall. Thus, what was found were genes that were associated with breast cancer, or higher risk of having cancer recur, and a higher risk of having breast cancer overall.
This finding is significant because breast and prostate cancer are linked in several ways, but there
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