A healthy diet (that includes a daily cup of coffee), keeping weight down and regular exercise can protect women from endometrial cancer, the most common malignancy affecting the female reproductive organs (the endometrium is the lining of the uterus). A new study from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and World Cancer Research Fund International found that keeping weight down via diet and exercise could prevent almost 60 percent of the 49,600 new cases of endometrial cancer that occur annually in the United States. The antioxidants in coffee (both regular and decaf) can cut the risk by seven percent, possibly by preventing DNA damage, improving insulin sensitivity and inhibiting glucose absorption in the intestine. Avoiding high glycemic index foods is also key. The study found that for every 50 units of glycemic load that a woman averages in her daily diet, the risk of endometrial cancer bumps up 15 percent. And they noted that foods high on the glycemic index affect production of estrogen and insulin, the hormones thought to underlie endometrial cancer. Bottom line: obesity is likely the primary driver of endometrial cancer, as body fat produces estrogen, which stimulates the uterine lining.
“New Report: In the U.S., 3 out of 5 Cases of Endometrial Cancers are Preventable,” American Institute for Cancer Research and World Cancer Research Fund International, accessed September 13, 2013, http://www.aicr.org/press/press-releases/3-out-of-5-cases-of-endometrial-cancer-are-preventable.html