The rise in obesity levels is likely to lead to an increase in the number of cancer patients, with doctors predicted to be diagnosing as many as 12,000 new weight-related cancer cases every year by 2010.
Researchers at Cancer Research UK are warning that obesity greatly increases the risk of cancer, with data from America showing that patients with a body mass index (BMI) of between 30 and 35 are up to a third more likely to die of cancer.
Obesity is thought to be one of the leading preventable causes of cancer, with excess weight believed to be responsible for nearly four per cent of all cancer cases.
Tim Key, Cancer Research UK epidemiologist, said that it was now well-established that being overweight increases the risk of developing several types of cancer.
"The effects on breast and womb cancer are almost certainly due to the increased production of the hormone oestrogen in the fatty tissue," he revealed.
"We are less sure of the precise mechanisms in other obesity-related cancers but we can confidently predict that the number of these cases will increase unless the rise in obesity in Britain can be reversed."
Government figures suggest that the number of obese and overweight people in the UK is set to rise by 14 per cent by the end of the decade.