Endometrial cancer and weight loss

“A new study suggests that weight loss could decrease the risk of endometrial cancer in postmenopausal women by as much as 29 to 56%.”

Jennifer Ligibel, MD, ASCO Expert in Cancer Prevention stated,

“There have been more than a thousand studies linking obesity to an increased risk of endometrial and other cancers, but almost none that look at the relationship between weight loss and cancer risk. This study tells us that weight loss, even later in life, is linked to a lower risk of endometrial cancer.”

The researchers reviewed data from 36,794 American women between the ages of 50 and 79 with a 10-year follow-up.

Women over 50 who lost 5 percent or more of their body weight had 29 percent lower risk of endometrial cancer.

Obese women who lost 5 percent or more of their body weight had a 56 percent reduction in their risk of developing endometrial cancer.

There is an increased risk of endometrial cancer with weight gain

The researchers also found that women who gained more than 10 pounds had a 26 percent increased risk of endometrial cancer.

“It’s never too late to improve your health, and this study demonstrates losing weight’s potential in reducing the risk for cancer,” said Karen H. Lu, MD, chair of ASCO’s Cancer Prevention Committee.

About ASCO:

Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) is committed to making a world of difference in cancer care. As the world’s leading organization of its kind,

Reference American Society of Clinical Oncology News Release  https://www.asco.org/about-asco/press-center/news-releases/study-links-intentional-weight-loss-decreased-risk-endometrial


What is endometrial cancer?

  • Endometrial cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the endometrium.

What is the endometrium?

  • According to the National Cancer Institute, “The endometrium is the lining of the uterus”.

How common is endometrial cancer?

  • According to the CDC, “Each year, approximately 50,600 women in the United States get uterine cancer. It is the fourth most common cancer in women in the United States and it is the most commonly diagnosed gynecologic cancer.”
  • Endometrial cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women

What are the signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer?

  • Vaginal bleeding that is unusual for you either in between periods or bleeding after menopause.
  • Vaginal discharge that is not normal for you.
  • Pain or pressure in your pelvis.
  • Painful urination
  • Pain during intercourse

What are the risk factors for endometrial cancer?

  • Age -endometrial cancer is more common in menopausal women. In most cases, endometrial cancer occurs after you have gone through menopause.
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes mellitus may increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
  • Taking tamoxifen for breast cancer or taking estrogen alone (without progesterone) can increase the risk of endometrial cancer.

Birth control pills have been shown to decrease the risk of endometrial cancer.

How is endometrial cancer diagnosed?

A biopsy will definitively make the diagnosis of endometrial cancer

Transvaginal ultrasound-an ultrasound probe is placed into the vagina can help determine if there are any abnormalities of the

Dilation and curettage or D&C  is a surgical procedure in which the uterine lining (endometrium) can be scraped and then examined under the microscope to see if there are any abnormalities.

References

NIH

CDC

Unfortunately, there is no good screening methods for endometrial cancer like there is for cervical cancer. If you notice any abnormal bleeding you may want to consider seeking medical attention.

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