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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 768247, 6 pages
Review Article

The Association between Obesity and Colorectal Cancer

1Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2R3
2Department of Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2R3
3Center for the Advancement of Minimally Invasive Surgery (CAMIS), Royal Alexandra Hospital, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5H 3V9

Received 9 August 2012; Revised 26 October 2012; Accepted 26 October 2012

Academic Editor: A. Castells

Copyright © 2012 Kevin Whitlock et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Obesity has become a major issue for healthcare providers as its prevalence continues to increase throughout the world. The literature suggests that increased body mass index (BMI) is associated with the development of certain cancers such as colorectal cancer (CRC). Consequently, CRC surgeons are now encountering an increasing number of obese patients which may influence the technical aspects and outcomes of surgical treatment. For instance, obese patients present with greater comorbidities preoperatively, which adds increasing complexity and risks to surgical management. Recent literature also suggests that obesity may increase operating time and conversion rates to open colorectal surgery. Postoperative outcomes may also be influenced by obesity; however, this currently remains controversial. There is evidence that survival rates after CRC surgery are not influenced by obesity. In summary, obesity presents challenges to CRC surgeons, and further research will be needed to show how this important characteristic influences the outcomes for CRC patients.