People who are obese are significantly more likely to develop oesophagus cancer than those of a healthy weight, it has been found.
More specifically, those with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more were discovered to be six times more likely to have the form of cancer than people with a BMI of between 18.5 and 25.
This is true even accounting for factors such as high alcohol consumption and smoking, which are also known to cause the disease.
As a result, researchers have concluded that obesity
is an independent risk factor in the development of oesophagus cancer.
"These data confirm that obesity independently increases the risk of adenocarcinomas [tumours] of the oesophagus, and to a lesser extent, the gastro-oesophageal junction," the scientists write in their report.
"From a clinical perspective, these data raise the prospect that patients with obesity and frequent symptomatic reflux are at especially increased risk of adenocarcinoma.
"Understanding the mechanisms through which these exposures might cause cancer is the focus of our continuing research."
Obese men and people under the age of 50 are apparently at an especially high risk.