According to a new report from the Charity Cancer Research (CCR) in Britain, the number of women with womb cancer or uterine cancer is on the rise and obesity may be a clue to such rise.
In 1975 rates of womb cancer were 13 per 100,000 and now 30 years later the rates stand at 19 per 100,000 women. Among women aged 60-79 rates have nearly doubled since 1975 – from around 40 women in every 100,000 to over 75 in every 100,000 in 2007. In the UK alone 4,813 women were diagnosed with the cancer in 1993 but now more than 7,530 women develop the disease every year. Womb cancer is the fourth most common cancer among British women, killing 1,741 in 2008. It is the second fastest growing cancer in women after malignant melanoma skin cancer.
Researchers at Cancer Research UK say women being overweight or obese and women having fewer or no children may be reasons behind such a rise. Doctors believe that there are higher concentrations of fatty tissues in the body of obese women and this then in turns other hormones into estrogen – the female hormone whose rise is linked to womb cancer. Dieticians could help tackle the problem of a rising number of cases of womb cancer due to women being overweight or obese.
According to Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK’s director of health information, “These figures show that we’re still seeing a year on year rise in the number of women diagnosed with womb cancer and more needs to be done to tackle this… Women can reduce their risk of developing the disease by keeping a healthy weight, taking regular exercise and reducing the amount of alcohol they drink… All women should be aware of the symptoms of womb cancer which include abnormal vaginal bleeding – especially for post-menopausal women – abdominal pain and pain during sex… Although these symptoms don’t usually mean cancer, as they could be signs of other diseases like fibroids or endometriosis, it’s still vital to get them checked by a doctor…” She explained that, “The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the more likely treatment will be successful.” She added that women aged 60 to 79 are more at risk
According to Ciaran Devane, chief executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, “These figures reflect that the number of people getting cancer is increasing and this must be recognized…There are currently two million people living with a cancer diagnosis and this will double by 2030 so we need to be planning for the future.” She said early diagnosis and better long term care are keystones in cancer management.
According to Jessica Harris, health information officer for Cancer Research UK 23 to 50% of womb cancer patients in UK are overweight. She explained that, “By keeping a healthy weight, particularly once you’ve been through the menopause, but generally throughout life, they can really reduce the risk of developing the disease.”