16/10/2014 07:52 BST | Updated 16/10/2014 07:59 BST

The UK Has Highest Gullet Cancer Rate In The World - And Obesity May Be To Blame

A new report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed the UK has the highest rate of adenocarcinoma (AC) cancer in the world.

AC cancer is a type of oesophageal cancer and affects the food pipe or the gullet.

According to the NHS, smoking and drinking alcohol are two of the biggest risk factors for AC cancer, particularly if both activities are combined.

Obesity is also a major risk factor.

fat stomach

According to figures from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - part of the WHO - the UK has the highest rate of AC cancer in the world for both men and women.

The WHO's figures show that since 2012, there have been 52,000 AC cancer cases worldwide.

The UK had a rate of 7.2 new cases per 100,000 for men and 2.5 per 100,000 for women since 2012.

The results show that men are four times more likely to develop the disease than women in the UK.


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Dr Melina Arnold, lead author of the WHO study, explained why obesity rates mean men are at higher risk of AC cancer.

"Men are more likely to have a higher waist circumference, and these particular fat tissues produce hormones that have been suggested to increase the risk of AC," she told the BBC.

A previous study found two thirds (60%) of British adults did not know about the links between cancer and physical activity and 59% were unaware of the correlation between cancer and body weight.

Tam Fry, a spokesperson from the The National Obesity Forum, said the deaths in the UK from gullet cancer were "a tragedy" and should be seen as a warning that obesity can lead to "devastating conditions".

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