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Uterine Cancer Cases: Nearly 60 Percent Preventable

Women’s Health, a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services, reports “regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can prevent three of every five new cases of endometrial cancer in the United States.”

Endometrial cancer is cancer of the lining of the uterus.

Based on a new review of scientific evidence, an estimated 59% of endometrial cancer cases could be prevented if women did two things: exercised at least 30 minutes a day and avoided excess body fat.

Experts have established body fat produces cancer promoting hormones and is linked to chronic inflammation, encouraging a cancer developing environment.

Diet choices influence—negatively and positively—a woman’s risk of endometrial cancer.

A cup of coffee, caffeinated or not, per day can reduce your risk by 7%.

Conversely, high amounts of high-glycemic-index foods, such as sugary items and processed grains, increase your risk of cancer. For every 50 units of glycemic “load,” the risk increases by 15 percent.

Also influenced by these factors are estrogen and insulin hormones, which are believed to be at the root of endometrial cancer.

Endometrial cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive system, affecting nearly 50,000 women per year, more than ovarian cancer and cervical cancer combined.

Unfortunately without a reliable screening system, most cases of endometrial cancer are undiagnosed until women are over age 60.

The new review is part of a continuing WCRF/AICR project, whereby the two groups are collaborating to update recommendations for cancer prevention based on the most up-to-date scientific evidence. Prior reports have provided updated recommendations for pancreatic, breast and colorectal cancers.

The report re-affirms research from the American Cancer Society in regards to obesity and physical activity. Between all the cancers known to be associated with obesity, endometrial cancer has the strongest. Hormonal changes tied to obesity also contribute to promotion of this particular cancer.

Regular physical exercise has protective benefits beyond maintaining a healthy weight. Among the benefits are a decrease in estrogen and insulin levels, and strengthening of the immune system and digestive system.

Coffee’s antioxidants can prevent DNA damage, improve insulin sensitivity and inhibit glucose absorption in the intestine, all of which could reduce cancer risk.

High-glycemic foods, on the other hand, spike blood sugar levels, contributing to cancer risk by flooding the bloodstream with glucose and insulin.

The goal is to avoid actions that create environments that can lead to cancer development.

The report cautions against taking the evidence surrounding high-glycemic foods too far. Because some very unhealthy foods have a low glycemic load, you can’t just rely solely on selecting foods low in glycemic load.

A well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables is still the principal recommendation.

To discuss your individual health needs, contact and make an appointment to see well woman physicians at Gainesville’s All About Women today.

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