Excess weight boosts risk of ovarian cancer

January 8, 2009 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

Excess weight boosts risk of ovarian cancer

Post-menopausal women who are overweight or obese have a much higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, say researchers from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.

In this new study published in the journal Cancer, 94,525 women aged 50 to 71 had their body mass index tracked for a period of seven years after submitting information about their weight history. New cases of ovarian cancer were recorded and compared based on body weight.

Women who were consistently heavy as adults had the highest ovarian cancer risk as compared with those who put on significant weight after menopause.

Risk of ovarian cancer jumped 79 percent for women who were obese (body mass index over 30) when compared to their peers with normal body weights.

For women who were overweight (body mass index between 25 and 30) ovarian cancer risk increased by 31 percent.

Ovarian cancer also tends to occur around menopause, and many women assume their symptoms are related to menopause rather than cancer.

An estimated 2,500 Canadian women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 1,700 women died from the disease in 2008, according to estimates by the National Cancer Institute of Canada.

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