Weight Loss May Protect Women From Endometrial Cancer

By Donna Bellevue , Feb 17, 2017 02:32 AM EST
404037 08: Women protest against Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitzs new weight loss program 'Lighten up Brooklyn' and what they call fat phobia April 16, 2002 in front of Borough Hall in Brooklyn, NY. The 'Lighten up Brooklyn' project is aimed to help people in Brooklyn loose weight between April 27 and the week of June 9. (Photo : Adam Rountree/Getty Images)

The benefits of weight loss may now extend well beyond looking better in your swimsuit as scientists find that it can also reduce the risk of endometrial cancer. A new study reveals that shedding excess pounds in older women, even if just a little, may significantly keep them safe from the disease. A potentially deadly disease, endometrial cancer is one of the more common cancers occurring in women, with tens of thousands being diagnosed each year.

The research, recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, studied the health data of over 36,000 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 for 11 years. It found that those who gained weight during the study saw an 8 percent to 23 percent increase in chances of getting endometrial cancer. On the other hand, those who intentionally lost 5 percent or more of their body weight had a 29 percent reduction in the risk of developing the cancer, the Medscape reports.

Interestingly, weight loss in obese women led to a 66 percent decreased risk of endometrial cancer. According to lead author Juhua Luo, of the School of Public Health at Indiana University in Bloomington, the team decided to do the study to see if intentional weight loss, especially among older persons, could reduce that risk. A number of studies have confirmed the association between fat and the gynecological cancer, but this is the first time that an effective solution for prevention have been explored, Fox News reports.

Combined with ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer claims about 14,270 lives annually in the United States. Obesity rates have also increased, leading more women to develop a lot of fatty tissue that releases estrogen which stimulates the endometrium, and increasing risk of endometrial cancer. Luo suggests that older women try weight loss, which even by a modest amount, can lower the risk of endometrial cancer.

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