Body Fat and Gynecological Cancer

woman on scale in fear

The benefits of staying fit and active are many — and if you’re a woman, here’s one more to add to the list:  Being in good shape reduces your risk of uterine cancer by 70 percent.

Uterine cancer

Endometrial cancer develops in the lining of the uterus and strikes nearly 50,000 women in the United States each year. An estimated 8,000 women annually die of the cancer.

As much as 70 percent of uterine cancers are caused by excess body fat.  If a woman maintains a lean body weight and exercises daily, she’s going to dramatically reduce her risk for uterine cancer.

Excess body fat causes the body to create an environment that’s high in insulin, estrogens, and inflammation, making endometrial cancer more likely, according to researchers at the National Cancer Institute.

It’s also important to pay attention to the risk factors for less-common gynecological cancers.

Cervical cancer

The Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a major risk factor. Smoking and multiple sex partners increase the risk.

Ovarian cancer

Age (over 40) and family history are the primary risk factors, as well as lack of pregnancies and lack of birth control use. More than half of all ovarian cancers occur in women over 63.

Regular visits to your gynecologist are also a very important part of decreasing your risk.

More information

Endometrial Cancer

Ovarian Cancer

Cervical Cancer

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Holly L. Thacker, MD

Holly L. Thacker, MD, Director of the Center for Specialized Women's Health and Executive Director of Speaking of Women’s Health, is nationally known for her leadership in women's health.
  • http://www.blockislandorganics.com/ Block Island Organics

    These are great and actually simple tips provided by Dr. Thacker. To add to Dr. Thacker’s point about sun protection daily, against UVA and UVB rays – look for a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 15 (recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation – can obviously go up and some dermatologists recommend an SPF of at least 30) – that will indicate that the product protects against both UVA and UVB rays. SPF is only a measure of protection against UVB rays. UVB rays can cause sunburns while UVA rays can cause skin aging.