Good news! Study suggests every pregnancy helps in reducing risk of endometrial cancer
If you get scared just at the thought of pregnancy, then this research will bring an ear to ear smile on your face. A recent study conducted by a team of researchers at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute says that with every pregnancy, the risk of endometrial cancer decreases in women.
Endometrial cancer is a cancer which begins in the lining of the womb. The worst part is that it doesn’t have any major symptoms. But according to experts some people can experience pain in the pelvic area, vaginal bleeding, fatigue, and heavy menstrual flow. This makes this problem all the more difficult to diagnose in the initial phase. But thankfully, being pregnant can keep you safe and sound.
Here’s what the study has to say
According to the researchers, each additional pregnancy a woman experiences, including those that result in miscarriage, can help reduce her risk of developing endometrial cancer.
The research led by the head of the institute’s Gynaecological Cancers group, Professor Penelope Webb, found the risk continued to drop with each pregnancy, even up to as many as eight pregnancies.
Professor Webb said the study findings provided new insight into endometrial cancer, which is estimated to be the 5th most common cancer diagnosed among Australian women.
“It’s well known that having a full-term pregnancy reduces a woman’s risk of developing endometrial cancer, but our research has shown that not only does each additional full-term pregnancy reduce that risk by about 15%, the reduction continues for up to at least eight pregnancies,” Professor Webb said.
“We have also clearly shown for the first time that pregnancies that end in a miscarriage also reduce risk of endometrial cancer by about seven per cent,” the professor added.
“Unlike many other cancers, endometrial cancer rates are increasing so it is vital that we get a better understanding of the factors that affect a woman’s risk. If scientists can understand what drives endometrial cancer, there’s hope that we may be able to prevent women from developing it in the future.”
High levels of progesterone act as a protective shield
The researchers examined pregnancy data from 30 studies conducted around the world, including Australia, held by the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium. This included 16,986 women with endometrial cancer and 39,538 women who have never had the disease.
First author, Associate Professor Susan Jordan who is now at The University of Queensland School of Public Health, said the study findings raised questions about the commonly held belief that hormone levels in the last trimester provide the protective effect against women’s cancers.
“Our analysis in this large group of women shows that while a full-term pregnancy is associated with the greatest reduction in risk for endometrial cancer, even pregnancies that end in the first or second trimester appear to provide women with some protection,” Associate Professor Jordan said.
“This suggests that very high progesterone levels in the last trimester of pregnancy are not the sole explanation for the protective effect of pregnancy. If women who experience miscarriage have a seven to nine per cent reduced risk of endometrial cancer, then early pregnancy factors may also be playing a protective role against this disease,” she concluded.
(With inputs from ANI)