overweight and obesity (overweight) are recognized as risk factors for developing certain types of cancer. Better prevention is therefore an important health issue, as revealed by a study establishing a link between a body mass index (BMI) too high and the occurrence of cancer of the endometrium, the inner lining of the lining of the body of the uterus, the part of the uterus where pregnancy takes place.
According to data from the National Cancer Institute, endometrial cancer is the 4th cause of cancer in women in France and is also the most common gynecological cancer after breast cancer. If this risk of endometrial cancer increased with the degree of corpulence is already established from long time by the scientific community, this study has the particularity of focusing on the state of weight throughout life rather than a snapshot in time.
Published in the journal BMC Medicine and funded by Cancer Research UKshe claims that being overweight throughout life almost doubles a woman’s risk of developing uterine cancer: it turns out that for every five units ofBMI additionally, the risk of endometrial cancer in a woman increases by 88%.
The calculation of theBMI (weight divided by height squared) indicates whether the person is overweight and it is generally considered that a BMI between 18.5 and 25 (kg/m²) is satisfactory, that one is probably too thin if theBMI is less than 18.5 and you probably have a few extra pounds if theBMI is between 25 and 30. Finally, if theBMI is between 30 and 40, one is obese and from one BMI of 40, we speak of morbid obesity, knowing that five units ofBMI represent the difference between the overweight category and the obese category.
The role of two hormones keys decrypted
The study involved examining genetic samples from around 120,000 women from several countries, of which around 13,000 had endometrial cancer. Researchers looked at markers for 14 traits that could link obesity to this type of cancer and found that two hormones, insulin (hormone that regulates blood sugar) fasting and testosterone, increased the risk of receiving such a diagnosis.
This discovery is important, because it is by identifying exactly how obesity increases the risk of cancer, for example through hormones, that scientists hope in the future to be able to use drugs to reduce or increase the level of these hormones in people who are already at higher risk for cancer. They evoke, for example, the track of a drug called metformin used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
“This study is a first step in how genetic testing could be used to find out exactly how obesity causes cancer and what can be done about it.
The links between obesity and endometrial cancer are well known, but this is one of the largest studies to have looked exactly at the mechanisms at the molecular level. Further research is needed, however, to determine exactly which treatments and medications could be used to manage cancer risk in people struggling with obesity.
“We already know that being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing 13 different types of cancer. To reduce your risk of cancer, it is important to maintain a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet and staying active. », concludes Dr. Julie Sharp of Cancer Research UK.
Note that in France, the National Institute against Cancer mentions overweight and obesity among the risk factors for endometrial cancer. Thus, the people concerned “have a higher risk compared to those whose weight is normal, that is to say whoseBMI is between 18.5 and 25 kg/m2. The increased risk is estimated between 52 and 60% for an increase inBMI of 5 kg/m²”, indicates the organization.
The main symptom that should definitely push to see a doctor is the appearance of vaginal bleeding after menopause or unusual bleeding (outside periods or bleeding heavier than usual) before menopause. Unlike cancer of the cervix, there is no screening for endometrial cancer, but the Inca considers that endometrial cancers “have the best prognosis of gynecological cancers”, after that of breast.