SPONSORED: Losing weight can decrease cancer risk

Published: Jan. 7, 2020 at 11:27 AM CST
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Losing weight is a popular resolution this time of year, and for good reason. More than 40% of Americans are obese. If you need another reason to get moving, here it is: Losing weight can also decrease your risk for certain cancers.

Peggy De Voe knows her weaknesses.

"I'm Fritos, Cheetos and Doritos," says De Voe.

But when she went in for her yearly physical in 2018, she didn't know how much those weaknesses had contributed to her weight.

"I believe I had a breakdown right in her office," says De Voe. "I couldn't believe what the scale said I weighed. The force hit me. That was it. That was my wake-up call I guess."

Dr. Melissa Emmerich gave Peggy a simple task: Give up those chips, just for four or five weeks.

"And all of a sudden, my go-to foods...I didn't even want the salt. It was the fruits and vegetables. It was the most amazing thing ever. I never would've thought that would work," says De Voe.

It did work in helping Peggy start her journey to losing 60 pounds. She lost more than that though. A brain tumor she was diagnosed with three years ago is now dormant.

Doctors say the link between excess weight and cancer is well documented.

"There is now pretty clear evidence for at least 13 different types of cancer that excess body weight is a risk factor," says Dr. Emmerich.

A scary fact that doctors hope will convince even more people to live healthier lives.

"There's concern that longevity or life expectancy is going to decrease for the first time ever," says Dr. Emmerich.

If the thought of starting a weight loss journey has you overwhelmed, it's important to know that you are not alone. In fact, health experts say a support system is the most important part of making a lifelong change to benefit your health.

"I think I viewed Dr. Emmerich not only as my physician, but now I've actually told people I feel she's my counselor," says De Voe. "It was insurmountable and I never would have done this on my own without her."

"It's a struggle and they need support, they need someone who will be able to be there for them no matter what," says Dr. Emmerich. "People need positive reinforcement, even when the scale goes up instead of down, there's positive things to be seen."

"I wake up every day and I say, 'Dear God, please let me have a healthy day,'" says De Voe.