Spare tire deflates cancer survival odds

The second your doctor shows you that dark mass on your lung or walks in grim-faced to deliver your biopsy results, you have everything in the world working against you. You'll spend the next several months... even years... of your life fending off disfiguring surgeries, chemo drips that'll have your stomach doing flip-flops, and dangerous radiation.

But in your fight against cancer, your biggest opponent may not be anything out of the mainstream torture chamber. It's those saddle bags hanging from your hips -- or that plus-sized belly drooping over your belt buckle.

A new Oxford study of 80,000 women found that gals who were a bit on the chunky side were nearly 30% less likely to survive their bout with a common form of breast cancer. That's about one-third less chance of watching grandkids blow out birthday candles or walking your son or daughter down the aisle -- all because you didn't lay off the Snickers.

Now the Oxford folks only looked at breast cancer -- but you can be sure your obesity works against you when you're fighting other types of cancers, too. That's because beating cancer takes every ounce of stamina you have, and you're not gaining any glued to the couch watching The Young and the Restless.

Nobody ever thinks about fighting cancer until the horse is already out of the barn. But it's time to get yourself into training now by shedding those extra pounds and getting a move on by doing whatever active hobby tickles your fancy (just make sure you don't overdo it -- here's why).

Because once you get yourself into fighting shape, you'll be readier than ever to win the biggest battle of your life.