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Obesity Linked To Elevated Risk Of Ovarian Cancer

Date:
January 6, 2009
Source:
American Cancer Society
Summary:
A new epidemiological study has found that among women who have never used menopausal hormone therapy, obese women are at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer compared with women of normal weight.

A new epidemiological study has found that among women who have never used menopausal hormone therapy, obese women are at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer compared with women of normal weight. The research indicates that obesity may contribute to the development of ovarian cancer through a hormonal mechanism.

Ovarian cancer is the most fatal of gynecologic malignancies, and has a 5-year survival rate of only 37 percent. While studies have linked excess body weight to higher risks of certain cancers, little is known about the relationship between body mass index and ovarian cancer risk.

To investigate this issue, Dr. Michael F. Leitzmann of the National Cancer Institute and colleagues studied 94,525 U.S. women aged 50 to 71 years over a period of seven years. The researchers documented 303 ovarian cancer cases during this time and noted that among women who had never taken hormones after menopause, obesity was associated with an almost 80 percent higher risk of ovarian cancer. In contrast, no link between body weight and ovarian cancer was evident for women who had ever used menopausal hormone therapy.

According to Dr. Leitzmann, these findings support the hypothesis that obesity may enhance ovarian cancer risk in part through its hormonal effects. Excess body mass in postmenopausal women leads to an increased production of estrogen, which in turn may stimulate the growth of ovarian cells and play a role in the development of ovarian cancer.

Among women with no family history of ovarian cancer, obesity and increased ovarian cancer risk were also linked in this study. However, women that did have a positive family history of ovarian cancer showed no association between body mass and ovarian cancer risk.

These latest findings provide important additional information related to women's risks of developing ovarian cancer. "The observed relations between obesity and ovarian cancer risk have relevance for public health programs aimed at reducing obesity in the population," the authors wrote.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Cancer Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michael F. Leitzmann, Corinna Koebnick, Kim N. Danforth, Louise A. Brinton, Steven C. Moore, Albert R. Hollenbeck, Arthur Schatzkin, and James V. Lacey, Jr. Body mass index and risk of ovarian cancer. Cancer, Online: January 05, 2009; Print: February 15, 2009 DOI: 10.1002/cncr.24086

Cite This Page:

American Cancer Society. "Obesity Linked To Elevated Risk Of Ovarian Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090105090841.htm>.
American Cancer Society. (2009, January 6). Obesity Linked To Elevated Risk Of Ovarian Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090105090841.htm
American Cancer Society. "Obesity Linked To Elevated Risk Of Ovarian Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090105090841.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

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