September 12, 2013
Womb Cancer Risk May Be Avoided With Diet, Exercise
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Women who exercise, eat a healthy diet and drink coffee are at a lower risk of developing womb cancer, according to a new report by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).
A WCRF panel found evidence that body fatness and glycemic load are a cause of endometrial cancer, and physical activity and coffee can help protect against it. Endometrial cancer is the sixth most common cancer in women around the world. Around 290,000 new cases of this cancer were reported in 2008, accounting for nearly five percent of all new cases of cancer in women.
Researchers said the disease is mainly in high-income countries, with North America and Europe having the highest incidence. This coincides with higher-income countries having higher rates of obesity.
"The evidence for body fatness reducing risk remains strong for both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women, said " Elisa V. Bandera, an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and a panel member of the Continuos Update Project (CUP). "The Second Expert Report concluded that body fatness and abdominal fatness was a convincing cause of endometrial cancer and physical activity probably decreased risk. Other areas were too unclear to draw public health conclusions."
Researchers at Imperial College London, led by Dr. Teresa Norat were able to identify the new evidence for a link between body fat and womb cancer. They also identified an association of coffee, both caffeinated and decaffeinated, with a seven percent reduction in risk for every cup consumed.
"These findings are intriguing, but we should keep in mind that excessive coffee consumption can have side effects, particularly in some people," Bandera said. "Also, most studies have not evaluated substances added to coffee, such as cream and sugar, which may themselves pose other risks. More research is needed to explore the protective effect of coffee on cancer risk."
Bandera told NBC in a telephone interview that women who are obese have two to three times the rate of endometrial cancer. Also, people who are more active regularly tend to have a decreased rate of endometrial cancer.
She recommends women take into consideration their food choices by eating a diet high in vegetables and low in fat and refined sugars. This diet would help with weight control, while also protecting against cancer in other ways.
"We need to consider the possible effect on other cancers as well as the impact on other health conditions and we are now looking to conduct further research into this issue," Karen Sadler, executive director of the World Cancer Research Fund, told BBC.
WCRF said that most cases of endometrial cancer could be prevented in the US. The group said that if women were active for at least 30 minutes a day and maintained a healthy body weight, it could reduce the risk of this disease.