Is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Promoted by Obesity

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) is the most common form of blood cancer in children. Though it can affect children between ages 0-19 years, kids belonging to the age group 2-5 years are at especially high risk. Statistically, it is found that young boys are more prone to develop this condition than in young girls.

Researchers at the Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles have found that obesity increases the rate of progression of blood cancer in children. Results of their findings were published in the Journal Cancer Prevention Research, on October 5, 2010. The nexus between these two health complications is not only surprising but may have far-reaching health implications in the future.

How Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia is Linked to Obesity

  • As a part of the study, the researchers fed high-fat diets to experimental mice suffering from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
  • The study provided the insight that in all the mice at risk of developing ALL increased with weight gain.
  • Older mice were at higher risk of developing blood cancer with weight gain.
  • The observations were consistent with the effects seen in lung cancer patients when exposed to tobacco smoke and breast cancer patients with increased levels of estrogen in the body.
  • The tendency of aged mice possessing the high risk of cancer agreed with the other weight gain related health complications like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
  • Though the exact mechanism of how obesity promotes blood cancer is yet to be learnt, it is believed that fat cells release certain types of hormones which allow and assist the growth and rapid division of cancer cells.

How serious is the Nexus between Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Obesity?

Evidence of the link between blood cancer in children and obesity is particularly disturbing. Unfortunately cancer issues are quite prevalent and have no cure. Obesity on the other hand could be avoided, prevented and reversed, with dedication and hard work.

The general public either responds in fear or ignores the possible consequences of this connection until it is too late for them or for their loved ones. Awareness in people and timely initiatives from the health care officials can properly address the gravity of the situation.


Children’s Hospital Los Angeles: Researchers Find Diet-Induced Obesity Accelerates Leukemia

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