Many Women Unaware of Obesity-Cancer Link

Can obesity increase your risk of cancer? If you're not sure about the answer — a definite "yes" — you're not alone. A new survey of 1,545 US women finds that only about half were aware that obesity raises their risk for endometrial, colon and breast cancer. Although 45% of the women were obese themselves, there was no relationship between body weight and knowledge of the obesity-cancer connection. Only 42% were aware that obesity puts them at greater risk of endometrial cancer, which affects the uterine lining, while 53% knew that obesity is associated with colon cancer and 54% knew that obesity boosts breast-cancer risk.

The survey, conducted by M.D. Anderson Cancer in Houston, focused especially on endometrial-cancer awareness. Research has shown that being overweight increases a woman's risk of endometrial cancer by four times, while being obese multiplies the risk six times compared to normal weight.

"We need to be doing a better job of educating our patients," said lead author Pamela T Soliman, MD, MPH. "Even patients who are routinely seeing their physician weren't aware that obesity increases their risk."

TO LEARN MORE: Obstetrics & Gynecology, October 2008; abstract at .

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