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Body Weight Linked to Ovarian Cancer

microscopeBody weight has long been linked to the development of certain cancers, but now there is evidence that being overweight also increases women’s risk of ovarian cancer, the most deadly gynecological cancer in the United States. A recent analysis of the global research by the American Institute for Cancer Research and World Cancer Research Fund (AICR/WCRF) means that ovarian cancer now joins the growing list of cancers – including post-menopausal breast cancer, colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, gallbladder cancer, and pancreatic cancer – whose risk is increased by carrying excess body fat.

Added together, approximately 585,600 cases of these eight cancers are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. AICR now estimates that being at a healthy weight could prevent 1 in 5 of these cases – or approximately 120,900 cancer cases every year.

“This is an important finding,” said Elisa V. Bandera, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and one of the expert panelists who authored the new AICR/WCRF Continuous Update Project (CUP) report, “because it shows a way for women to reduce their chances of getting ovarian cancer. There is so much we don’t know about preventing ovarian cancer, but now we can tell women that keeping to a healthy weight can help protect against this deadly disease.”

Every year in the U.S., approximately 14,000 women die from ovarian cancer. It is the fifth leading cause of cancer death, mainly because difficulty in detection means many women are not diagnosed until the disease’s later stages.

In the U.S., approximately two-thirds of women are overweight or obese, placing them at increased risk for developing any of the eight cancers now known to be related to body weight. If you don’t know whether you fall in the range classified as “healthy weight” by researchers, you can check your BMI status on the AICR website.

Shopping the Produce Aisle Can Reduce Your Risk of Cancer Death

In case you need another reason to grab an apple today, take note: A new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health suggests that eating just a few fruits and vegetables a day reduces the risk of dying from cancer and an earlier death. Researchers also found during the course of the study that the more produce people ate, the lower their risk of dying. This study further strengthens prior research that has already shown an established link between consuming high amounts of fruits and vegetables and a reduced risk of certain cancers.

Researchers found that eating vegetables and salads had the most pronounced protective effect. For adults, Federal guidelines recommend eating from 1. 5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily, depending upon your age and how active you are. For cancer prevention, AICR recommends that two-thirds of every meal has fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. Different cancers link to specific groups of produce; a diet high in fruits, for example, reduces risk of these cancers, while eating non-starchy vegetables reduces the risk of esophageal and oral cancers.

Published on April 25, 2014

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