Related Topics: Cancer, Menopause

Preventing Ovarian Cancer 

Did you realise that ovarian cancer risk is linked to low levels of exercise? Dr Andrew Weil shares his views on what this means for you.

Dr Andrew Weil

The more inactive women are, the greater their risk of ovarian cancer. Two new research initiatives from Roswell Park Cancer Institute suggest that any amount of regular, weekly physical activity may help reduce the risk for developing this difficult to treat disease.

One of the investigations analyzed findings from nine previous studies involving data on 8,309 ovarian cancer patients and 12,612 women who didn’t have the disease. It concluded that women who reported no personal history of recreational physical activity had a 34 percent increased risk of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This held true for women of normal weight as well as those who were overweight or obese.

The second research effort included 6,806 women with ovarian cancer and found that those who were inactive in the years prior to being diagnosed had between a 22 percent and 34 percent higher risk of dying from the disease than women who reported performing at least some regular, weekly recreational physical activity. Here, too, the results applied to both normal weight and overweight women.

My take?

Unfortunately, we do not yet have a reliable screening test to detect ovarian cancer in its early and most treatable stages. Risks are highest among women with a personal or family history of ovarian cancer, breast cancer or colorectal cancer. The risk increases with age and is higher among obese women and those who haven’t had children. These new findings about the positive effect of physical activity on the risk of this disease give women yet another excellent reason to exercise regularly.

Helpful information:

Unfortunately the risk for ovarian cancer is not just related to lack of exercise, but being overweight is also a factor. Oestrogen dominance at menopause carries many health risks so tackling hormone imbalance is a good first step in reducing your overall health risk.

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