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Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer in Overweight Women

by Medindia Content Team on June 16, 2006 at 3:37 PM
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Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer in Overweight Women

Recent research has revealed that childless women, women overweight in their teens or later are at an increased risk of contracting ovarian cancer. This research was conducted by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

The participants of the study were some 2,110 women with and without ovarian cancer. The study of these women revealed that women who were relatively heavy, either in recent years or at the age of 18, were more likely to develop the disease compared to their thinner peers.

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In addition childless women had a 2.5 times higher risk of getting the disease compared with the thinnest women.

The results of the study have been published in journal Cancer, based on the fact that excess body fat can increase levels of estrogen and androgens, which in turn may stimulate ovarian tumor development.
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Pregnancy and childbirth lowers the risk of ovarian cancer by decreasing the number of times a woman ovulates in her lifetime, and thereby her estrogen exposure.

Lead researcher Dr. Julia Greer and her colleagues suggest that overweight women who are childless, the effects of excess body fat and frequent ovulation combined raise the risk of ovarian cancer.

According to American Cancer Society estimates, Greer noted, at least one third of all cancer deaths in the U.S. each year are attributable to excess weight and obesity.

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