Sugary Drinks Linked to Increased Endometrial Cancer Risk After Menopause

Woman Drinking Sugary BeverageWomen who consume sugary drinks after menopause increase their risk of developing type I endometrial cancer by 78 percent, says a new study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention.

The consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has been previously linked to an increased risk of obesity and type II diabetes. Researchers at the University of Minnesota recently investigated whether sugar drinks also affected the risk of developing endometrial cancer.

According to the Mayo Clinic, endometrial cancer is a cancer of the layer of cells that form the lining, or endometrium, of the uterus. Endometrial cancer is also sometimes called uterine cancer, although other cancers of the uterus can also occur. The most common symptom of endometrial cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding. If discovered early, removal of the uterus can cure endometrial cancer.

The most common type of endometrial cancer is estrogen-dependent type I endometrial cancer. Type II is a rarer form of the disease. According to the National Cancer Institute in the United States, approximately 49,560 new cases of endometrial cancer are diagnosed each year and 8,190 deaths caused by the disease annually. The majority of women develop endometrial cancer are over 55 years of age.

To determine a link, if any, between the consumption of sugary drinks and an increased risk of endometrial cancer, the researchers in the present study looked at 23,039 postmenopausal women in the Iowa Women’s Health Study. The researchers looked at the intake of sugary drinks, fruit juice, sugar-free beverages, sweets/baked goods, starch, and sugars among the women in the study. Between 1986 to 2010, the researchers identified 506 type I and 89 type II incident endometrial cancers.

According to the results of the study, a higher intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and sugar increases a woman’s risk of developing type I endometrial cancer. The more sugar that a woman consumes, the higher her risk of endometrial cancer. Furthermore, the consumption of sugary drinks increases the risk of endometrial cancer regardless of other lifestyle factors.

As Maki Inoue-Choi, Ph.D., M.S., R.D., the leader author of the study, states:

“Although ours is the first study to show this relationship, it is not surprising to see that women who drank more sugar-sweetened beverages had a higher risk of estrogen-dependent type I endometrial cancer but not estrogen-independent type II endometrial cancer.

“Other studies have shown increasing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has paralleled the increase in obesity. Obese women tend to have higher levels of estrogens and insulin than women of normal weight. Increased levels of estrogens and insulin are established risk factors for endometrial cancer.”

The take-away from the study is that women, especially post-menopausal women, should limit their intake of sugary drinks and other forms of sugar.


Endometrial Cancer:
Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Intake and the Risk of Type I and Type II Endometrial Cancer among Postmenopausal Women:
Sugary Drinks Linked to Endometrial Cancer Risk After Menopause:

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