"A Little Dab'll Do Ya"

Cancer does not like even small amounts of weight loss

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) If you're old enough, you'll appreciate the tagline for Bryl-creem - "a little dab'll do ya" The concept is easy - just takes a little to look great. And this idea works with weight, too  - particularly for postmenopausal women. Take off a dab or two and you'll see and feel a difference.

Even losing as little as 5 percent of overall body weight, makes a measurable difference in inflammation, which tends to fuel the flames of cancer. So losing only a few pounds helps keep cancer at bay or away completely.

"Calculate 5 percent of your body weight - and lose it."

So say you weigh 200 pounds, 5 percent of your total body weight would be 10 pounds; 175 - 8.5; 150 - 7.5 pounds and so forth.

That's all you'd have to lose for your body to start doing the happy dance, according to a study published May 1, 2012 issue of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"Both obesity and inflammation have been shown to be related to several types of cancer, and this study shows that if you reduce weight, you can reduce inflammation as well," said Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, director of the Prevention Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash.

A total of 439 postmenopausal women in the study were assigned to lose 10 percent of their weight by eating a balanced diet, with or without aerobic exercise.

Before and after, researchers measured inflammation markers found in the blood. Here's what they found at the end of one year:

  • C-reactive protein was down 36.1 percent in those who dieted alone and 41.7 in dieters and exercisers.
  • Interleukin-6 was lower by 23.1 percent in the diet group and 24.3 percent in the diet and exercise group.

Interestingly, Dr. McTiernan's team found that reductions increased with those who lost at least 5 percent of their weight. Exercise alone didn't do the trick and didn't move inflammation markers hardly at all.

"This study adds to the growing understanding we have about the link between obesity and cancer, and it appears we can affect inflammation directly through nonpharmaceutical means," said McTiernan.

Funding information and financial disclosures were not publicly available.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 3, 2012
Last Updated:
May 3, 2012