Postmenopausal women—especially those who are obese—may cut their risk of endometrial (uterine) cancer by losing weight, according to an analysis of nearly 37,000 women, ages 50 to 79, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Overall, weight loss (at least 5 percent of initial body weight) over three years was associated with a 29 percent reduced risk of developing this cancer over the following 11 years, compared with women who maintained their weight. Obese women who intentionally lost weight reduced their risk by 56 percent.
Excess weight is strongly associated with endometrial cancer, because fat cells produce estrogen, a hormone that fuels growth of cells in the lining of the uterus. And death rates from this cancer have been on the rise in the U.S. in recent years.
Though this was an observational study and didn’t prove causality, a strength is that it separated out intentional weight loss from unintentional weight loss, which could be due to illness.
Also see Improving Your Cancer Odds.