A genetic link between obesity and cancer has been confirmed by new research, scientists have said.
Experts from the International Agency for Research on Cancer say they have carried out studies which connect how obesity genes affect tumour risk.
Excess weight triggers 12% of cancer cases — double the number previously thought — and just below the 15% linked to cigarettes.
The scientists said their study shows that obesity is a greater danger in six of the eight main cancers, quadrupling the risk for pancreatic and bowel and doubling it for kidney, womb, ovarian and throat.
Lead researcher Paul Brennan said: “Our current predictions that around six per cent of cancers are caused by excess weight are an important underestimate. “It is closer to the effect of tobacco, which is about 15%.”
NHS bosses say it means that Britain’s obesity crisis will cause an extra 360,000 cancer cases in the next decade.
Details from the study aere available here.