(HealthDay)—Losing weight is associated with a significantly lower risk of endometrial cancer, and that benefit appears to be greatest in obese women, according to a study published online Feb. 6 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The researchers reviewed data from 36,794 American women between the ages of 50 and 79. The study included an average of more than 10 years of follow-up.
Women over 50 who lost 5 percent or more of their body weight had a 29 percent lower risk of endometrial cancer, regardless of their age or how much weight they lost, according to the researchers. Obese women who lost 5 percent or more of their body weight had a 56 percent reduction in their risk. Overweight or obese women who achieved a normal body mass index (BMI) had the same risk as women who maintained a normal BMI. The researchers also found that women who gained more than 10 pounds had a 26 percent increased risk of endometrial cancer.
"Many older adults think it's too late to benefit from weight loss, or think that because they are overweight or obese, the damage has already been done. But our findings show that's not true," study author Juhua Luo, Ph.D., an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Indiana University Bloomington School of Public Health, said a news release from the American Society of Clinical Oncology. "It's never too late, and even moderate weight loss can make a big difference when it comes to cancer risk."
Explore further: Significant weight gain in adulthood increased risk for endometrial cancer