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Obesity and Cancer

By Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, OCN, FAAN
Obesity is quickly overtaking tobacco as the leading preventable cause of cancer, yet few resources are available on obesity and cancer. To address this need, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has created several provider and patient resources, all of which are available at

Resources for providers include Obesity and Cancer: A Guide for Oncology Providers, which can be used to educate patients about the negative effects of obesity on cancer risk and cancer-related mortality, and the need to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. A companion booklet, Managing Your Weight after a Diagnosis of Cancer: A Guide for Patient and Families, is designed to be given to patients as a take-home resource to reinforce the provider’s instructions.

The website also has statistics on cancer and obesity (more than one third of U.S. adults and 17% of U.S. children and adolescents are now categorized as obese), links to guidelines on preventing and treating obesity with some links specific to cancer survivors, and links to information on insurance coverage and reimbursement for health lifestyle and weight loss programs. There are links to virtual ASCO meetings where abstracts, posters, and presentations about obesity and cancer can be viewed. The resources available on the ASCO provide ‘one stop shopping’ for educating and supporting our patients who are already, or may become, obese while being treated for cancer.
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