Body Mass Index (BMI) is known to be associated with cancer mortality, but little is known about the link between lifetime changes in BMI and cancer mortality in both males and females. We studied the association of BMI measurements (at baseline, highest and lowest BMI during the study-period) and lifetime changes in BMI (calculated over different time periods (i.e. short time period: annual change in BMI between successive surveys, long time period: annual change in BMI over the entire study period) with mortality from any cancer, and lung, colorectal, prostate and breast cancer in a large cohort study (n=8,645. Vlagtwedde-Vlaardingen, 1965-1990) with a follow-up on mortality status on December 31st 2008. We used multivariate Cox regression models with adjustments for age, smoking, sex, and place of residence. Being overweight at baseline was associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer mortality (hazard ratio (HR) =2.22; 95% CI 1.19-4.17). Obesity at baseline was associated with a higher risk of any cancer mortality [all subjects (1.23 (1.01-1.50)), and females (1.40 (1.07-1.84))]. Chronically obese females (females who were obese during the entire study-period) had a higher risk of mortality from any cancer (2.16 (1.47-3.18), lung (3.22 (1.06-9.76)), colorectal (4.32 (1.53-12.20)), and breast cancer (2.52 (1.15-5.54)). We found no significant association between long-term annual change in BMI and cancer mortality risk. Both short-term annual increase and decrease in BMI were associated with a lower mortality risk from any cancer [all subjects: (0.67 (0.47-0.94)) and (0.73 (0.55-0.97)), respectively]. In conclusion, a higher BMI is associated with a higher cancer mortality risk. This study is the first to show that short-term annual changes in BMI were associated with lower mortality from any type of cancer.