Preventing Endometrial Cancer: Talking with Elisa Bandera

The new AICR/World Cancer Research Fund report on preventing endometrial cancer was published today – the report found obesity, coffee, and activity links to risk. The report analyzed the global research on diet, activity, and weight to the risk of endometrial cancer. Here, Elisa Bandera, MD, PhD, the panel lead of this CUP report and an epidemiologist at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, talks about the report’s findings and what it means.Bandera_Elisa_small

Q: This is the first systematic update of the research on lifestyle and endometrial cancer risk since 2007. Overall, what’s new here?

A: For the update, we now have more prospective data for dietary factors and interesting associations emerged with coffee consumption and glycemic load. Coffee consumption was associated with reduced risk while glycemic load increased risk. There is also growing evidence that longer sitting time increases endometrial cancer risk.

Q: But the research for sitting time – sedentary livingwas not strong enough to make a conclusion.

A: There were only three studies at this time but they all suggested increased risk. We could not be certain based on the limited data that the association was independent of BMI. However, sitting time has been emerging as an important risk factor for other cancers, independent of physical activity. In other words, it is not sufficient to go to the gym three times a week. We have to remember to get up out of our chairs and move and avoid extended period of sittings in front of the television or the computer.

Q: How much more research is there now on endometrial cancer prevention compared to the last report?

A: There are more studies, but particularly more prospective studies evaluating dietary factors, which were lacking in the first report.  Still, only few prospective studies have evaluated some of the dietary exposures and endometrial cancer risk compared to the number of studies that have evaluated them in relation to breast or colorectal cancers.

Q: Why is having prospective data so important?

A: The previous report’s conclusions were based on mainly findings from case-control studies, which are generally considered weaker than cohort or prospective studies. Continue reading


Fruits & Veggies Link to Lower Breast Cancer Risk

Today’s Cancer Research Update features a study that suggests eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may slightly reduce women’s risk of breast cancer. Every 200 grams of fruits and vegetables eaten per day – about 1 to 2 cups – was associated with a 4 percent decreased risk of breast cancer.

What does a cup of fruits and vegetables look like? A small apple, an orange and a dozen baby carrots are a few examples. Look at the CDC for more.

The research was funded by the World Cancer Research Fund as part of AICR/WCRF’s Continuous Update Project (CUP), an ongoing review of cancer prevention research. Here, lead author Dagfinn Aune, a nutritional epidemiologist at Imperial College London who is part of the CUP team, answers a few questions about the findings.

Q: Every 200 grams of fruits and vegetables linking to a 4% reduced risk of breast cancer does not seem like a lot. Can you explain why it’s important?

A: Yes, the reduction in relative risk is modest, but the increment that was used for the analysis was also moderate so the reduction in risk may be larger for women that eat greater than 200 grams per day of fruit and vegetables. For those with the highest intake of fruit or fruit and vegetables combined there was a 8 to 11 percent reduction in the relative risk compared with those with the lowest intake, which is similar to our previous results for colorectal cancer. The association appears to be linear, meaning more benefit the more you eat. Continue reading