Researchers involved with the American Cancer Society's cancer prevention study examined the records of nearly 500 000 women and nearly 380,000 men to work out the risks faced by people of different weights.
Over a 12-year period more than 1 600 women and nearly 1 800 men died from colon cancer.
After adjustment for a range of factors including age, race, smoking, family history and nutritional habits, the researchers found that high body mass index (BMI) increased risk in men far more than in women.
Men with a BMI of 32 faced a risk 1.9 times that experienced those with a BMI of 23
Men with a BMI of 32 - equivalent to a 17-stone (107kg), six-foot man - faced a risk 1.9 times that experienced by men with a BMI of about 23 - equivalent to 12-stone or 76 kg.
In women the risk was increased by between 23 and 37 per cent for women with a BMI of 32.
The researchers, led by Terrell Murphy, of the American Cancer Society, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, write: "These prospective data support the hypothesis that obesity increases the risk of colon cancer death and that the relation is stronger and more linear in men than in women."
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