Unintended weight loss is the second highest risk factor for some forms of cancer, concludes the first robust research analysis to examine the association.
A team led by the Universities of Oxford and Exeter conducted the first systematic review and meta-analysis to examine all available evidence on the association between weight loss and cancer in primary care. Their study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research and published in the British Journal of General Practice, found that unintended weight loss is the second highest risk factor for colorectal, lung, pancreatic and renal cancers.
The research analysed the findings of 25 studies, incorporating data from more than 11.5 million patients in total, found that weight loss was linked with 10 types of cancer. The analysis found that unintended weight loss in people over 60 exceeded the 3% risk threshold for urgent investigation in NICE guidelines. In females over 60, the average risk across all sites involved was estimated to be up to 6.7%, and in males up to 14.2%.
Lead author Dr Brian Nicholson, of the University of Oxford, said: “Streamlined services that allow GPs to investigate non-specific symptoms like weight loss are vitally important and urgently needed if
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