Drinking This Increases Your Endometrial Cancer Risk by 80%

By on November 25, 2013
For those at risk for estrogen-dependent endometrial cancer, the most common type of endometrial cancer, there’s a new risk factor–and it’s dietary.

According to a new study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, drinking sugar-sweetened beverages regularly could increase your risk of endometrial cancer by up to 80 percent.

However, it had no significant impact on less common endometrial cancers, such as non-hormonal endometrial cancer.

“We found that higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with higher risk of [estrogen-dependent) type I endometrial cancer, regardless of body mass index, physical activity, a history of diabetes, and cigarette smoking,” says the researchers of the study in an online statement. “Similarly higher risk of type I endometrial cancer was observed in relation to higher intake of sugars. The risk of [estrogen-independent] type II endometrial cancer was not associated with intake levels of sugar-sweetened beverages and sugars.”

The Study

Taking data from the Iowa Women’s Health Study, a study which detailed certain lifestyle factors, medical histories, and dietary intakes of female participants between the ages of 55 to 69 years old, researcher Maki Inoue-Choi, Ph.D., co-author of the study, looked at how certain dietary habits affected their endometrial cancer risk. In total, Inoue-Choi analyzed the data of over 23,000 women, 592 of whom developed endometrial cancer during the study.

Curiously enough, women who consumed sugary drinks regularly, such as fruit juice and carbonated sodas, were significantly more likely to develop estrogen-dependent endometrial cancer, according to Inoue-Choi’s findings.

“The finding that sugar-sweetened drinks might contribute to the most common type of endometrial cancer is not particularly surprising, given the cancer’s association with obesity,” says Ronald Alvarez, M.D., a professor and director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Alabama. “Sugar in beverages might also affect insulin and insulin growth factor, which could play a role in type I endometrial cancers.”

In years past, endometrial cancer has been associated with obesity, so it’s not surprising why sugary beverages may result in a rise in endometrial cancer cases. After all, previous studies have found that people who regularly drank sugary beverages, such as carbonated sodas, were more likely to weigh more than those who don’t–not to mention a heightened risk of type 2 diabetes.

However, Alvarez says the results are puzzling, as the results did not find if having too much sugar or having a specific type of sugar may trigger a higher cancer risk.

“Is it the amount of sugar or the type of sugar that may differ between drinks and foods?” says Alvarez. “I would say we need more information about that before we can explain this.”

The Recommendation

If you’re at risk for endometrial cancer, then it’s probably worth it to heed the researchers’ findings to heart–cut out the sugary stuff. For instance, switching from regular soda to diet soda may cut your risk, as research found that diet soda did not increase the risk for endometrial cancer. Better yet, try switching out the fizzy stuff for the best thirst quencher: Water.

Readers: Do you try to limit your intake of sugary beverages or not?

Sugary Beverages Linked to Higher Risk of Endometrial

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