Ovarian Cancer Linked to Obesity

Ovarian CancerA new study found that women who are obese have a high risk of developing ovarian cancer compared with women who are of healthy weight. The link was explained in a study conducted by researchers from Rutgers University.

The National Cancer Institute says that ovarian cancer is developed in ovarian tissues. It is estimated that there were 22,240 new cases of ovarian cancer in the United States in 2013.

Obesity is described as having an abnormally high amount of body fat, which is measured by body mass index (BMI). BMI is measured by taking an individual’s weight in kilograms and dividing it by height in meters squared. On the scale, obesity is one level higher than overweight. A BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 is considered overweight, while 30.0 and above is considered obese.

Dr. Elisa Bandera, a Rutgers Cancer Institute associate professor on epidemiology in New Jersey, says there is an increase of six percent in risk of ovarian cancer per five points in the BMI. It was also found that ovarian cancer had a higher risk of developing in taller women, also.

The findings are a huge concern, as in the years 2007 to 2008, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that of U.S. adults ages 20 years and older, 68 percent were obese or overweight, a 12 percent increase from a study conducted between 1988 and 1994. Most startling was the percentage of children who were obese or overweight. Based on the same 2007-2008 survey, it was estimated that 17 percent of children and teens between the ages of two and 19 were obese, an increase from 10 percent between 1988 and 1994.

Ovarian cancer adds to a growing number of cancer types linked to obesity, including pancreas, esophagus, breast cancer after menopause, colon and rectum, kidney, endometrium, thyroid and gallbladder.

Overall, a 2007 study found that obesity in the United States caused 34,000 new incidences of cancer in males and 50,500 new cases in females. The percentage in relation to types of cancer varied, but for esophagus and endometrial cancer, it was said that obesity was linked to 40 percent of new cases.

Looking ahead, it is projected that by 2030, if trends continue, obesity will be the cause of 500,000 new incidences of cancer in the United States. However, this analysis also found that the number could be cut by 100,000 if every adult lost 2.2 pounds.

The link between cancer and obesity is not entirely confirmed. However, the National Cancer Institute says one possible reason is that fat tissue produces an excess of estrogen, which is linked with breast cancer, among other types. Moreover, tumors may grow due to the increase of insulin in an individual’s blood, common among people who are obese. One last side effect associated with obesity that leads to an increased risk of developing cancer is chronic low-level inflammation.

Dr. Bandera says that the results linking the increased risk of developing ovarian cancer to obesity sheds light on a very important fact. In order to reduce the risk of developing cancer, focus must be on the individual’s lifestyle, not just families or adults or individuals.

By Kollin Lore


Nature World News
National Cancer Institute