Body Fat and Gynecological Cancer

Obesity increases uterine cancer risk by 70 percent

woman on scale in fear

By: Holly L. Thacker, MD

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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.

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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

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Ovarian Cancer

Cervical Cancer

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