Dr. Hudis on the Challenges of Understanding Obesity and Cancer

Clifford A. Hudis, MD, chief, Breast Cancer Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, professor of medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, discusses the challenges of understanding the link between obesity and cancer.

Clifford A. Hudis, MD, chief, Breast Cancer Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, professor of medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, discusses the challenges of understanding the link between obesity and cancer.

Hudis says one of the challenges of scientifically approaching the problem of obesity in cancer is developing evidence in order to give meaningful advice to patients.

Researchers are unsure if all obesity patients are the same, or if there’s a subset where an intervention might make a difference. Hudis says it is theorized that this subset is the majority of patients who have inflammation. It is also theorized that there is a subset of patients who are not obese, but still have inflammation.

Since it is hypothesized that inflammation is the target, researchers wonder if anti-inflammatory drugs would make a difference or if more conventional methods such as diet and exercise would be the better intervention.

While researchers don’t have compelling evidence for specific interventions, Hudis says substantial evidence suggests that weight loss and a healthy diet are generally useful outside of cancer.