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Posted: September 13, 2017

Women with an apple shape at increased risk of developing cancer, study finds

A new study finds postmenopausal  women with an apple-shaped body have a higher risk of developing some forms of cancer when they get older.
Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images
A new study finds postmenopausal  women with an apple-shaped body have a higher risk of developing some forms of cancer when they get older.

By Najja Parker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

There are several categories to describe body types, but there is one that can increase your risk of cancer if you’re a woman, according to a new study. It’s the apple-shape.

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Researchers from Denmark conducted an experiment, which was recently presented at the European Society of Medical Oncology conference in Madrid, to determine how excessive fat in different parts of the body can heighten an individual’s chances for cancer. 

To do so, they assessed the body fat scans of nearly 6,000 postmenopausal women with an average age of 71, categorizing participants with either high abdominal fat or low abdominal fat. They examined them over a 12-year period. 

After analyzing the data, scientists recorded 811 people with cancer. While 293 subjects had breast and ovarian cancers, 345 had lung and gastrointestinal cancers and 173 had other cancers.

Furthermore, they found that women who carried more fat around their stomachs were more than 50 percent likely to be diagnosed with lung or gastrointestinal cancers than women with low abdominal fat.

>>Related: Work the night shift? You may be at higher risk of breast cancer

“The average elderly women can very much use this information, as it is known that the menopause transition initiates a shift in body fat towards the central trunk area. Therefore elderly women should be especially aware of their lifestyle when they approach the pre-menopause age,” co-author Maersk Staunstrup said in a statement.

Scientists noted that they also considered other variables including older age and smoking. However, fat ratio remained an “independent risk factor,” and they believe their findings can help with cancer prevention.

“These data open the door for clinicians to initiate a number of interventions in obese patients,” Andrea De Censi added.

>> Related: Study: Daily glass of wine or beer can increase breast cancer risk

“In addition to fat loss with diet and exercise, there may be a potential role for a diabetes drug, such as metformin, which can lower insulin effects and contribute to cancer prevention.”


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