Sugar, Pasta And White Bread Raise The Risk Of Endometrial Cancer (But Don't Worry, Coffee Protects Against It)

Sugar has been labelled as addictive as some illegal drugs, but if you need another reason to curb your intake of sweets and starchy, sugar-laden carbohydrates such as pasta and white bread, scientists have found that over-consumption 'probably' contributes towards endometrial cancer.

The findings, reported, were based on studies in the US by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund International.

As well as looking into other causes or factors that affected endometrial cancer, scientists found that eight studies showed that coffee lowers the risk, because it is packed with antioxidants and also regulates the release of insulin. Insulin is the hormone that manages the release of sugar into the bloodstream.

In addition, the team found six studies that showed 'glycemic load' affects the risk of getting the cancer. Glycemic load refers to how quickly a food releases sugar, and high GL foods such as white bread or pasta release sugar very quickly.

Endometrial cancer, or cancer of the womb, affects under 4,000 women in the UK and is one of the most common female cancers. The majority of womb cancers begin in the endometrium (the cells that make up the lining of the womb and in rare cases, says the NHS, "womb cancer can start in the muscles surrounding the womb. This type of cancer is called uterine sarcoma and may be treated in a different way to endometrial cancer."

The causes for endometrial cancer are several - it can include diabetes, obesity and the menopause - but hormone imbalance is one of the most important risks for womb cancer, especially if you have an excess oestrogen.

“Women who are obese have two to three times the rate of endometrial cancer. People who are more active regularly tend to have a decreased rate of endometrial cancer."

The good news is that a lot of womb cancers are diagnosed early because the symptoms are easy to pick up. The most common symptoms of womb cancer, says Cancer Research UK is abnormal bleeding from the vagina "especially in women who have had their menopause and stopped having periods.

"About 90 out of 100 cases of womb (90%) cancer are picked up because of post menopausal or irregular vaginal bleeding. The bleeding can include vaginal bleeding after the menopause, bleeding that is unusually heavy or happens between periods and/or vaginal discharge – from pink and watery to dark and foul smelling."

Endometrial cancer can be treated with a hysterectomy (removal of the womb), as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The NHS adds that if you haven't yet had the menopause and are considering having children, then alternative hormone therapy may be available.

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