Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Women who give birth after age 30 lower their risk of endometrial cancer

Date:
July 25, 2012
Source:
University of Southern California - Health Sciences
Summary:
Compared to younger women, those who last give birth at age 30 or older decrease their risk of endometrial cancer, those who last give birth after 40 by nearly half.

Women who last give birth at age 40 or older have a 44 percent decreased risk of endometrial cancer when compared to women who have their last birth under the age of 25, according to strong evidence in a new, international study led by a researcher at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Related Articles


Endometrial cancer strikes the endometrium, the tissue lining the uterus (womb), and is the most common gynecological cancer in the United States.

Veronica "Wendy" Setiawan, Ph.D., assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School, was the principal investigator of the study, "Age at Last Birth in Relation to Risk of Endometrial Cancer: Pooled Analysis in the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium," which found that risk begins to decrease after age 30 by approximately 13 percentage points for each five-year delay in last births. Compared to women who last give birth before age 25, those who have their last child between age 30 and 34 reduce their risk by 17 percent and those between age 35 and 39 reduce their risk by 32 percent. "While childbearing at an older age previously has been associated with a lower risk of endometrial cancer, the size of this study definitively shows that late age at last birth is a significant protective factor after taking into account other factors known to influence the disease -- body weight, number of kids and oral contraceptive use," Setiawan said.

The study, believed to be the largest of its kind, examined pooled data from four cohort studies and 13 case-control studies. Funded by the National Cancer Institute, the research examined a total of 8,671 cases of endometrial cancer and 16,562 control subjects, all derived from studies in the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium. Results are now available online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

"We found that the lower risk of endometrial cancer continued for older mothers across different age-at-diagnosis groups, including under 50, 50-59, 60-69, and over 70 -- which shows that the protection persists for many years," Setiawan said. "Protection also did not vary by the two types of the disease: the more common Type 1, which we think is related to estrogen exposure; and the more rare, but more aggressive and deadly, Type 2, which have been thought to develop independent of hormones."

Setiawan noted that endometrial cancer is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed among American women. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2012 about 47,130 new cases of cancer of the uterine body will be diagnosed, and about 8,010 women will die from such cancers. The vast majority of those cases are endometrial cancer.

Setiawan's research also examined whether the association between age at last birth and endometrial cancer was consistent across race and ethnicity. The protective association was observed in Caucasian and Asian women, but not in the study's small subset of black women, and Setiawan suggested this warrants additional study of larger groups of black women.

More research is necessary to determine why late age at last birth might protect against endometrial cancer, but Setiawan notes that several potential mechanisms have been suggested by other investigators, including:

  • Women capable of becoming pregnant at an older age may possess a healthy endometrium or experience fewer menstrual cycles without ovulation;
  • Prolonged exposure to the hormone progesterone during pregnancy may be especially beneficial at older ages, the critical period for endometrial cancer development;
  • Premalignant or malignant cells of the uterine cavity's mucosal lining, which are more likely to exist with increasing age, are shed during childbirth.

"This study shows an important protective factor for endometrial cancer, and when the exact mechanism by which it protects women from getting the disease is known, it can help our understanding of how endometrial cancer develops and thus how to prevent it," Setiawan said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southern California - Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. V. W. Setiawan, M. C. Pike, S. Karageorgi, S. L. Deming, K. Anderson, L. Bernstein, L. A. Brinton, H. Cai, J. R. Cerhan, W. Cozen, C. Chen, J. Doherty, J. L. Freudenheim, M. T. Goodman, S. E. Hankinson, J. V. Lacey, X. Liang, J. Lissowska, L. Lu, G. Lurie, T. Mack, R. K. Matsuno, S. McCann, K. B. Moysich, S. H. Olson, R. Rastogi, T. R. Rebbeck, H. Risch, K. Robien, C. Schairer, X.-O. Shu, A. B. Spurdle, B. L. Strom, P. J. Thompson, G. Ursin, P. M. Webb, N. S. Weiss, N. Wentzensen, Y.-B. Xiang, H. P. Yang, H. Yu, P. L. Horn-Ross, I. De Vivo. Age at Last Birth in Relation to Risk of Endometrial Cancer: Pooled Analysis in the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2012; DOI: 10.1093/aje/kws129

Cite This Page:

University of Southern California - Health Sciences. "Women who give birth after age 30 lower their risk of endometrial cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120725100058.htm>.
University of Southern California - Health Sciences. (2012, July 25). Women who give birth after age 30 lower their risk of endometrial cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120725100058.htm
University of Southern California - Health Sciences. "Women who give birth after age 30 lower their risk of endometrial cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120725100058.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins