Ovarian Cancer Risk Increased When Overweight

Body weight is not a factor that has been widely associated with the risk of developing ovarian cancer. But new research suggests that women who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop the disease, compared with women of a healthy weight. For other cancers, past research has found that being overweight or obese is a risk factor. Now, ovarian cancer can be added to the list, meaning women can make lifestyle changes to reduce their chances of developing the disease.

Approximately 64% of women in the US are considered to be overweight or obese. These women are at increased risk of 1 in 8 cancers, including breast, bowel, womb, colorectal and now, ovarian cancer.

Investigators from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research conducted the study by reviewing 25 studies involving 4 million women. Of these, 16,000 had ovarian cancer. The researchers found that for every 5 additional body mass index (BMI) units, there was a 6% increase in the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Furthermore, a non-linear analysis revealed that women with a BMI greater than 28.4 had a significantly higher risk of ovarian cancer than women with a lower BMI.

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