Obesity linked to soaring cases of potentially fatal womb cancer
15th April 2016
obesityRising levels of obesity are being linked to a soaring number of women being diagnosed with womb (uterine) cancer. Alarmingly, past studies have led researchers to previously predict that if trends continues, up to 48% of men and 43% of women in the UK could be obese by 2030. In statistics published on Wednesday, Cancer Research have now warned that ever-increasing levels of obesity amongst UK women are helping to fuel the 54% rise in womb cancer rates within the last 20 years. In the early 1990s, it was calculated that an estimated 19 women in every 100,000 developed the potentially deadly disease, but by 2011-13 the figure had jumped to around 29 women in every 100,000 – and obesity has been the probable primary factor. About 20 years ago, there were approximately 4,800 new cases of womb cancer diagnosed each year in the UK, resulting in 1,500 deaths. However, this has now shot up to 9,000 women being diagnosed with the disease, and around 2,000 deaths. Professor Jonathan Ledermann, director of the Cancer Research UK and UCL Cancer Trials Centre, said: 'It's worrying that womb cancer cases are going up so sharply. “We don't know all the reasons why. But we do know that about a third of cases are linked to being overweight so it's no surprise to see the increases in womb cancer cases echo rising obesity levels. “The good news is that thanks to research and improved treatments, survival has improved. “In the 1970s, almost 6 in 10 women diagnosed with the disease survived for at least 10 years. Now almost 8 in 10 women survive. “But we need more research to understand the biology of the disease better and to know more about how it is caused so that we can improve the treatment of these women as well as preventing more cases.” It was only back in January that Cancer Research UK warned that being overweight or obese could be responsible for nearly 700,000 extra people developing cancer in the next 20 years. Obesity is consistently linked to a whole range of serious health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and many more. Moreover, at least 10 types of cancer can be caused by extra weight. The 10 cancers caused by obesity are cancers of the bowel, breast, gallbladder, kidney, liver, oesophagus, ovarian, pancreas and prostate. Cancer Research UK state that it is now fully clear exactly how being overweight or obese causes cancer to develop, but it is believed to be related to the excess fat resulting in the hormones and growth factor molecules encouraging cells to divide. This then causes tumours to form. Less major factors linked to the risk of developing cancer of the womb include age, genetics, lack of exercise and if the person is on hormone replacement therarpy (HRT). If womb cancer is spotted at an early stage it can be treated with a hysterectomy. Symptoms of the disease can include abnormal vaginal bleeding (particularly in post-menopausal women), blood in the urine and abdominal pain.