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Having more children lowers the risk of common cancer

Having more children lowers the risk of common cancer

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Endometrial cancer, also known as uterine cancer, is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the womb (the endometrium). It is most common in postmenopausal women and can cause symptoms such as abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, and pain during sex.

According to a University of Queensland study, having more children may reduce a woman’s risk of developing endometrial cancer.

According to a University of Queensland study, having more children may reduce a woman’s risk of developing endometrial cancer. dr Gunn-Helen Moen and Shannon D’Urso of the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at UQ used genetic analysis to study risk factors for endometrial cancer and found that having three children can reduce a woman’s risk by 50% compared to having no children.

“We found that the longer a woman was pregnant or on birth control pills — when the body had less exposure to estrogen — was associated with a lower risk of endometrial cancer,” said Dr. moen “While previous studies have shown multiple pregnancies and taking the oral birth control pill may reduce the risk of endometrial cancer, this is the first study to use genetics to examine multiple risk factors at once.”

Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the womb and is the fifth most common type of cancer in Australian women, with a prevalence of approximately 1 in 52. In their study, the University of Queensland researchers used genetic analyzes of how many years women ovulated, which was calculated by subtracting the time they were pregnant or on the pill from the years they were menstruating .

“It is believed that high levels of estrogen, which is not counteracted by progesterone, is a risk factor for the development of endometrial cancer. Both pregnancy and birth control pills provide progesterone to counteract estrogen and this may be why we are seeing a protective effect against this cancer. Put simply, the shorter your exposure to estrogen over your lifetime, the lower your risk of developing endometrial cancer.”

The researchers found evidence that shortening the years of ovulation might reduce the risk of endometrial cancer, but the strongest links pointed to childbirth. dr Moen said there could be several explanations for why pregnancy reduces the risk of endometrial cancer.

“It could be the rise in protective progesterone in the latter stages of pregnancy, or it could be because the body may be removing pre-cancerous endometrial cells from the uterus during labor,” said Dr. moen

During the study, researchers separated some known risk factors for endometrial cancer, such as increased body mass index (BMI) and age at first menstrual period and menopause, and specifically looked at the effects of number of live births and years of ovulation.

“In obesity, high levels of estrogen are produced in adipose tissue, making it a risk factor for endometrial cancer,” said Dr. moen

Cases of endometrial cancer are increasing worldwide, and Dr. Moen said this could be due to rising BMI levels, which account for about 40 percent of endometrial cancer cases in developed countries. “But we wanted to learn more about the impact of live birth directly, independent of other known risk factors. We used data to examine hundreds of genetic variants, six of which have been linked to the number of live births.”

“This study is the first time we have been able to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the number of deliveries and a reduced risk of developing endometrial cancer,” said Dr. moen

However, the researchers could not be sure whether this also applies to years of ovulation and oral contraceptive use.

“Analyzing larger datasets could help us understand more clearly whether it is the hormonal or mechanical effects of pregnancy that are more protective, and further investigate the effect of the oral contraceptive pill.”

Reference: “Mendelian Randomization Analysis of Factors Associated with Ovulation and Reproductive Function and Endometrial Cancer Risk” by Shannon D’Urso, Pooja Arumugam, Therese Weider, Liang-Dar Hwang, Tom A Bond, John P Kemp, Nicole M Warrington, David M Evans, Tracy A. O’Mara, and Gunn-Helen Moen, November 1, 2022, BMC Medicine.
DOI: 10.1186/s12916-022-02585-w

The study was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Council, the Research Council of Norway, Nils Norman, the British Heart Foundation and the UK Medical Research Council.

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