A rise in obesity has contributed to a 54% increase in womb cancer among UK women over the last 20 years, according to Cancer Research UK.
Around 19 women in every 100,000 developed womb cancer in the early 1990s, but that has now risen to 29 women in every 100,000.
Around 9,000 women are diagnosed with uterine (womb) cancer every year and around 2,000 women die from the disease each year.
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 six in 10 women diagnosed with the disease survived for at least 10 years. Now almost eight 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.’
Cancer Research UK said: ‘The science behind how extra weight can cause cancer is not completely clear. But there is evidence that extra fat in the body can raise cancer risk by producing hormones and growth factors that encourage cells to divide.’
Obesity can lead to other health issues such as diabetes and heart disease.
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