Excess Weight Can Almost Double Risk of Womb Cancer

Lifelong excess weight can nearly double the risk of developing womb cancer in women, new research has suggested.

Health experts have already recognized that the risk of suffering from diseases is heightened by being overweight or obese. However, new research from The Cancer Research UK-funded study published in the journal BMC Medicine, has revealed that for every five extra body mass index (BMI) units, a women’s risk of endometrial cancer is increased by 88%. Five BMI units is the difference between the overweight and the obese category, or according to CRUK, of a 5ft 5in adult woman being two stones heavier.

Researchers from the study, led by a team at the University of Bristol, examined genetic samples from around 120,000 women for various countries across the world such as the UK, Germany, Australia, and the U.S. and found that approximately 13,00 had endometrial cancer.

The charity has stated that keeping a healthy body can reduce the risk of developing 13 different cancers.

The increased risk is higher than past studies had suggested and considers lifelong weight status rather than a snapshot in time, used in various other medical studies. Five BMI units is the difference between the overweight and the obese category, or according to CRUK, of a 5ft 5in adult woman being two stones heavier.


Researchers focused on marker of 14 traits that could link both obesity and womb cancer and uncovered two hormones – fasting insulin and testosterone – increased the risk of developing the cancer.

Emma Hazelwood, the lead author of the study, said: “This study is an interesting first step into how genetic analyses could be used to uncover exactly how obesity causes cancer, and what can be done to tackle it.

“Links between obesity and womb cancer are well-known but this is one of the largest studies which has looked into exactly why that is on a molecular level.”

“Studies like this bolster the fact that being overweight or obese is the second biggest cause of cancer in the UK and can help us start to pinpoint why,” stated Dr Julie Sharp, head of health information at CRUK. “This will play a pivotal role in uncovering how to prevent and treat cancer in the future”.

“More research is needed to investigate exactly which treatments and drugs could be used to manage cancer risk among people struggling with obesity. We already know that being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing 13 different types of cancer. To reduce your cancer risk, it is important to maintain a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet and staying active.”

Current statistics show that one in 36 women are affected by womb cancer.

SEE ALSO: Keep Waist Less Than Half Your Height, NHS Guidance States

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