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CUP Report Links Activity, Weight and Coffee to Endometrial Cancer Risk

Elisa Bandera, MD, PhDWomen can reduce their risk of endometrial cancer with physical activity and being a healthy weight, according to a new AICR and World Cancer Research Fund International report that analyzed the global research on diet, activity, and weight to the risk of this cancer. 

Based on the findings, AICR/WCRF estimates that three out of every five new cases of endometrial cancer in the U.S. could be prevented if women were healthy weight and were physically active.

The AICR/WCRF report, Continuous Update Project: Preventing Endometrial Cancer,also found that drinking coffee – both decaffeinated and caffeinated – can reduce the risk of endometrial cancer. A high-glycemic-load diet (a diet high in sugary foods, sugary drinks and processed foods high in carbohydrates) was found to increase risk

Here, Elisa Bandera, MD, PhD, the panel lead of this CUP report and an epidemiologist at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, talks about the report’s findings and what it means.

Q: This is the first systematic update of the research on lifestyle and endometrial cancer risk since 2007. Overall, what’s new here?

A: For the update, we now have more prospective data for dietary factors and interesting associations emerged with coffee consumption and glycemic load. Coffee consumption was associated with reduced risk while glycemic load increased risk. There is also growing evidence that longer sitting time increases endometrial cancer risk. 

Q: But the research for sitting time – sedentary livingwas not strong enough to make a conclusion. 

A: There were only three studies at this time but they all suggested increased risk. We could not be certain based on the limited data that the association was independent of BMI. However, sitting time has been emerging as an important risk factor for other cancers, independent of physical activity. In other words, it is not sufficient to go to the gym three times a week. We have to remember to get up out of our chairs and move and avoid extended periods of sitting in front of the television or the computer.

Q: How much more research is there now on endometrial cancer prevention compared to the last report? 

A: There are more studies, but particularly more prospective studies evaluating dietary factors, which were lacking in the first report.  Still, only few prospective studies have evaluated some of the dietary exposures and endometrial cancer risk compared to the number of studies that have evaluated them in relation to breast or colorectal cancers.

Read the full interview on our blog.

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