Weight Loss & Lowered Uterine Cancer Risk: The Link

According to a new study from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), weight loss may lower the risk of uterine cancer in older women.

“Many older adults think it’s too late to benefit from weight loss, or think that because they are overweight or obese, the damage has already been done. But our findings show that’s not true,” study author and associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Indiana University Bloomington’s School of Public Health Juhua Luo said a news release.

“It’s never too late, and even moderate weight loss can make a big difference when it comes to cancer risk,” she added.

Uterine cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women in the United States, and more than 75 percent of women afflicted with the disease are 55 or older. The study looked at data from over 35,000 American women ages 50 to 79. Women over 50 who lost at least 5 percent of their body weight if not more had a 29 percent lower risk of developing the cancer. Obese women who lost the same amount of weight lowered their risk by an astonishing 56 percent. The researchers also discovered women who gained 10 pounds or more increased their risk of uterine cancer development by 26 percent.

“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,” said Dr. Jennifer Ligibel, a cancer prevention expert.

“This study tells us that weight loss, even later in life, is linked to a lower risk of endometrial cancer. The findings also support the development of weight loss programs as part of a cancer prevention strategy in overweight and obese adults,” she said.

The study was published in the online version of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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