Obesity, overweight and uterine cancer

Those extra pounds you’re carrying around may be causing you more harm than you think. Women who have a BMI of 25 and above are more likely to have endometrial (uterine ) cancer.

Body Mass Index

Just a quick reminder, BMI stands for Body Mass Index which is a measure of how much body fat you have. BMI is calculated using your height and weight to determine if you are underweight (less than 18.5)normal (18.5 to 24.9), overweight (25 to 29.9) or obese (above 30).

Obesity is a known risk factor in perimenopausal women, but a new study has shown that obesity is a factor in women under 45 who get uterine cancer. It showed that women who had their last period before the age of 45 and had a BMI over 35 were 22 times more likely to get uterine cancer than women of the same age group. Women who had a BMI above 25 were 6 times more likely to develop the disease than similar women.

Women who had their last period after the age of 45 and had a BMI above 35 were about 4 times more likely to get ovarian cancer than women of the same age.

The theory behind this is that of “unopposed estrogen”. After menopause (when your periods stop) there is virtually no progesterone or estrogen produced by the ovaries. However, estrogen is produced in the fat cells of the body. The more body fat you have, the more estrogen you produce. Without any progesterone, there is nothing to oppose the estrogen. This leads to a hormonal imbalance which encourages the growth of endometrial cancer.

Obesity increases your chances of getting heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and a host of other problems. It is important to realize that being overweight also increases your chances of developing cancer.

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