Risk factors in contracting cancer of the endometrium
The risk of having endometrial cancer increases with obesity, thyroid alterations, hypercholesterolemia and mellitus diabetes. The probabilities of contracting this disease are also increased in those women who have a family history of this type of cancer and also with the consumption of animal fat, visceras and smoked fish. This is what Pamplona doctor Rocío Montejo concluded in her PhD Estudio caso control sobre factores de risgo en el cáncer de endometrio (Controlled case study of risk factors in cancer of the endometrium), defended recently at the Public University of Navarra.
Cancer linked with development
Cancer of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) is more common in the more economically developed countries. The highest incidences are in countries like Luxembourg or the United States, where there is a lot of obesity, more diabetes and hypertension, etc. It is an ailment linked to "the good life". Spain occupies an intermediate position in the world ranking for this disease.
In this context, Rocío Montejo set out in her PhD to assess the influence of diet and other risk factors for this type of cancer, based on analyses of cases occurring in Navarre. The research concluded that the risk of contracting endometrial cancer increases with obesity, thyroid alterations, hypercholesterolemia and mellitus diabetes and in those women who have a family history of this type of cancer Nevertheless, it is notable that the results of the research show that tobacco diminishes the risk of contracting endometrial cancer. However, these results should not be misinterpreted.
Tobacco at a fertile age prevents endometrial cancer, apparently because it lowers oestrogen levels - the reason why women smokers are more prone to osteoporosis and early menopause. Moreover, it has to be taken into account that tobacco increases the possibilities of other types of tumour pathologies and cardiovascular problems.
Regarding the influence of smoking on these results, corroborating those obtained in previous research, this PhD also showed that passive smoking, at home or in the workplace, contributes in diminishing the risk of contracting endometrial cancer.
Other factors reducing the risk of this pathology are having given birth at least once, the consumption of coffee as well as of alcoholic drinks in high quantities, given that moderate consumption has been shown to increase risk.
Regarding the influence of diet on this type of cancer, the consumption of animal fat, fatty acids, visceras, non-oily fish and smoked fish, oysters and clams increase the risk factor. However, the consumption of vegetables, oily fish, octopus, cod and alpha-carotenes reduce the risk.
Survey of 235 women from Navarre
The study was carried out with a sample of 48 cases of patients with cancer of the endometrium and 187 healthy women as a control group representative of the population and aged between 44 and 87 years of age.
The survey involved filling in a questionnaire concerning demographic and anthropological data and questions referring to smoking and passive smoking, alcohol consumption, gynaecological history, personal and family history of cancer, a questionnaire on the frequency of Willet foods validated by Martín Moreno, and a 24-question questionnaire on eating habits. In total, 9,906 variables were involved and applied using exact statistics techniques.
Source: Eurekalert & othersLast reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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