According to a new study, a woman’s risk of developing endometrial cancer almost doubles for every 5 BMI units she achieves.
According to a study funded by Cancer Research UK and published today in BMC Medicine, a woman’s lifetime excess weight nearly doubles her risk of developing cervical cancer.
A University of Bristol study first discovered that a woman’s risk of endometrial cancer nearly doubled for every 5 extra BMI units (88 percent increase).
This is higher than most previous studies, and it reflects the status of weights rather than snapshots of time, as most other studies do.
The difference in BMI units between overweight and obese is 5 units, about two stones in the case of a 5’5 adult woman.
The study was performed on about 120,000 women in Australia, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, of whom about 13,000 were diagnosed with cervical cancer.
This detailed statistical investigation is one of the first of its kind to look at the effect of a person’s lifelong high BMI on the risk of cervical cancer.
Researchers have looked at 14 variables that could be linked to obesity and cervical cancer. They found that two hormones, fasting insulin and testosterone, increased the risk of developing cervical cancer.
Scientists may be able to use drugs to reduce or increase the levels of these hormones in people who are already at high risk of cancer if they can figure out how obesity increases the risk of cancer, such as through hormones.
Drugs used to treat diabetes, such as metformin, may lower hormone levels and there is evidence that these drugs could potentially change the risk of cancer, but more research is needed.
Cervical cancer is one of the most closely associated cancers with obesity. In high-income countries, it is the most common gynecological cancer, and the fourth most common cancer for women in the UK, where one in 36 women is diagnosed at some point in their lives. And it is thought that about one-third of all cervical cancers in the UK are due to being overweight or obese.
In the UK, being overweight or obese is the second most common cause of cancer. Overweight is considered to be the cause of more than one in every 20 cancers in the country.
“The links between obesity and cervical cancer are well known but this is one of the largest studies that has looked at exactly why it is at the molecular level,” he said. Emma Hazelwood, lead author of the paper“We look forward to further research to explore how we can use this information to help people with obesity reduce their risk of cancer.”
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