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endometrial cancer


According to a new study, women who drank the most sweet soft drinks had a 78% increased risk of endometrial cancer.

Researchers have found that other sweet treats, such as baked goods, didn’t have an effect. Nor did natural fruit juice, even though it’s full of naturally occurring sugars.

The findings fit in with other research linking sugar intake, obesity and a lack of exercise with the cancer, which kills more than 8,000 US women a year.

“Other studies have shown increasing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has paralleled the increase in obesity. Obese women tend to have higher levels of estrogens and insulin than women of normal weight,” said Maki Inoue-Choi, who did the study while at the University of Minnesota and now is at the National Cancer Institute.

It has to do with how insulin, which controls how the body uses sugar, affects other hormones such as estrogen.

“Increased levels of estrogens and insulin are established risk factors for endometrial cancer,” Dr. Maki Inoue-Choi said.

Dr. Maki Inoue-Choi and colleagues studied the records of 23,000 middle-aged women who had gone through menopause. Endometrial cancer is more common in women past menopause.

The women had been taking part in a bigger study of diet, and regularly filled out questionnaires on what they ate and drank every day. They were specifically asked about Coke, Pepsi and other cola drinks; caffeine-free versions of these drinks; 7-Up and similar sugar-sweetened sodas, and other sugary drinks such as lemonade or Hawaiian Punch.

They were also asked about sugar-free drinks such as Fresca, Diet Ginger Ale and other beverages. And they were asked about cookies, brownies, doughnuts, candy and pies.

The researchers arranged the women into five groups, called quintiles, from those who ate none of these things a week to those who ate 60 or more servings a week.

Women who drank the most sweet soft drinks had a 78 percent increased risk of endometrial cancer

Women who drank the most sweet soft drinks had a 78 percent increased risk of endometrial cancer

The women showed one known pattern – those who were older, weighed more, who had late menopause or had a history of diabetes were at higher risk of endometrial cancer, which is diagnosed in nearly 50,000 US women every year.

“In contrast, women who ever smoked or experienced a greater number of live births were at lower risk of endometrial cancer,” the researchers wrote in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, which is published by the American Association for Cancer Research.

Women who drank sugary drinks had a higher risk of the most common type of endometrial cancer, called Type I endometrial cancer. The more they drank, the higher the risk, the researchers found.

“The risk was 78% among women in the highest quintile of sugar-sweetened beverage intake,” they wrote.

Other studies have found that coffee and exercise reduce the risk, but Dr. Maki Inoue-Choi and colleagues did not.

“Fruit juice intake was not associated with the risk of Type I endometrial cancer,” they added.

“Similarly, neither sweet/baked good nor starch intake was associated with Type I endometrial cancer risk.”

It might not be anything special about sugary drinks, the researchers say. It might be that women who drink a lot of such drinks have other unhealthy habits, too.

And Inoue-Choi says it’s not clear why drinks and not other sweet foods showed an effect.

“One possibility is that sugar from whole foods comes with other nutrients, such as fiber,” she said in a telephone interview.

“Sugar from beverages doesn’t come with these nutrients.”

More research will be needed to tease out an explanation. But Dr. Maki Inoue-Choi notes that obesity is still, by far, the biggest risk factor for endometrial cancer, causing half of all cases.

Estrogen is one known cause of endometrial cancer, which affects the lining of the uterus. Women who take hormones, as in hormone replacement therapy, are usually given a form of progesterone, also, to protect against endometrial cancer.

Fat cells also secrete estrogen and that’s one reason why obesity can cause the disease, experts say.

There are two main types of endometrial cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute – Type I and Type II.

Dr. Maki Inoue-Choi and colleagues found that sweetened drinks only affected Type I risk. But Type I accounts for 80% of endometrial cancers.

It’s usually diagnosed early, in time for treatment, because in 90% of cases the woman has abnormal bleeding, the American Cancer Society says.

Snacking regularly on biscuits or cakes can significantly increase women’s chances of developing womb cancer, a British study shows.


Women who eat biscuits or cakes two to three times a week were 33% more likely to suffer womb cancer than those who rarely served such sweets.

Among those women indulging more than three times a week, the risk of developing womb tumors is increased with 42%.

However, their overall chances were still low as the odds of the average woman in the study developing uterus cancer during 18-plus years of the research were just over 1%.

The British researchers described the size of the effect as “modest” but said it warranted further investigation.

British cancer experts emphasized that it is too early to draw any firm conclusions.

Biscuits and cakes increase womb cancer risk by 42 percent

Biscuits and cakes increase womb cancer risk by 42 percent

The scientists from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute explained the link between increased sugar levels and womb cancer.

The researchers studied data from thousands of women who, between 1987 and 1990, had answered dozens of questions on diet, lifestyle, weight and general health.

In 1997, those still alive answered an even more extensive battery of questions on their eating habits.

In 2008, the researchers matched up the women’s answers with their medical records, specifically looking for diagnosis of endometrial cancer – the most common form of womb cancer. They found 729 cases out of the 61,226 women studied.

There was little or no increase in risk from eating certain high-sugar items such as sweets, soft drinks, jam or marmalade.

But women who snacked frequently on cakes, buns or biscuits were up to 42% more likely to get uterus cancer than those who had them two times per month or less.

It is not clear why some sweets were linked to the womb cancer developing but others were not.

The study looked at how often volunteers ate such sweets but not specifically how much. However, those exceeding a total intake of more than 35 grams of sugar a day – equivalent to about seven teaspoons – faced a 36% increase in tumor risk.

The Swedish scientists from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute said there are two mechanisms that high levels of sugar could raise the risk of the endometrial cancer. One is that increased quantity of sugar makes the body release more insulin, which has been shown to stimulate the growth of endometrial stromal cells, the lining of the womb

Another mechanism is that high levels of insulin may also increase levels of free estrogens through decreasing concentrations of circulating sex hormone–binding globulin, which has been shown to trigger the uncontrolled growth of cells, a key characteristic of cancer.

The Swedish study findings were published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.


Yinka Ebo, senior health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said keeping a healthy weight and staying physically active were the best ways to reduce womb cancer risk.

She added: “This study shows eating lots of sugar and certain sugary foods may increase the risk of womb cancer, but we would need to see these results repeated in other large studies like this before we can draw any firm conclusions.”

Endometrial cancer affects around 6,400 women a year in the UK and kills an estimated 1,000 annually.

Risk goes up with age, weight and with having a mother who had the disease. However, having children appears to lower the risk.