A recent research study reports an increased risk of ovarian cancer among obese women.
Since every woman I know thinks she is fat, this report is sure to raise anxiety levels across the board. So let’s see if I can calm things down a bit by placing the data in perspective.
First off, you need to know your BMI. Go here and calculate it , then come back. For those of you who are too lazy to click the link, you can think of it this way – your BMI is 30 if you are 5’2″ and 150 lbs, 5’5″ and 180 lbs or 5’8″ and 200 lbs.
Got your BMI? Okay. Here’s the data –
Women with a BMI of 30 or more had a relative risk of 1.6 for ovarian cancer compared to women whose BMI is < 25. That means for every 1 case of ovarian cancer in the thin women, there were 1.6 cases among the obese women. Almost double the rate. Sounds pretty bad, right?
Well, that depends on how risky ovarian cancer is to start with. Turns out ovarian cancer is not that common, whether you are thin or fat. The risk in this study was less than 1% over the 7 years of the study.
What about the risk among HRT users? Well, in that group, obese women’s risk for ovarian cancer was no higher than thinner women’s risk, because thinner women on HRT have a higher risk of ovarian cancer than their thin counterparts who don’t use HRT. How high? For every 1000 women on HRT there were 3-4 cases of ovarian cancer. Same as with obese women.
Obesity increases your risk for ovarian cancer. Fortunately, that risk is still quite low – certainly not high enough to warrant anything other than routine screening.
But add it to the increased risks of diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, heart disease and breast cancer associated with obesity, and maybe it’s enough to get you thinking more seriously about losing weight. Not to mention the improvement in your quality of like when you can sleep without snoring or apnea, exercise comfortably, wear the clothes you love and just plain feel better.