According to a University of Queensland study, having more children lowers a woman's risk of developing endometrial cancer.
Endometrial cancer begins in the lining of the womb (uterus). Most cases occur in women after the age of 55. A key sign is abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding after menopause or bleeding between periods. Other symptoms may include pelvic pain and pain during sex, but some women experience no symptoms at all.
Genetic analysis was used to examine endometrial cancer risk factors, and Dr. Gunn-Helen Moen and Shannon D’Urso from the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience discovered that having three children as opposed to none could reduce a woman’s risk by 50%. The team discovered that the longer a woman remained pregnant or using the pill, when her body is exposed to less oestrogen, the lower her risk of developing endometrial cancer was, according to Dr. Moen.
Multiple pregnancies and usage of the oral contraceptive pill have been demonstrated in other studies to lower the risk of endometrial cancer, but this is the first study to use genetics to do so.
One in 52 Australian women will develop endometrial cancer, and ranks fifth in terms of cancer diagnoses.
The UQ researchers assessed how many years a woman ovulated by deducting the number of years she was menstruating from the number of years she was pregnant or taking the pill. It is believed that endometrial cancer is increased by high oestrogen levels that are not countered by progesterone. We may observe a protective effect against this cancer because progesterone, which counteracts oestrogen, is provided by both pregnancy and the contraceptive pill. Simply put, your risk of developing endometrial cancer is lower the shorter your lifetime exposure to oestrogen is.
The most significant associations, however, pointed to childbearing. Researchers discovered evidence that suggested limiting the number of years spent ovulating could lower the risk of endometrial cancer.
Results of the observational univariate analysis of EC and numerous risk variables in the UK Biobank.
There could be a number of reasons why pregnancy lowers the risk of endometrial cancer, according to Dr. Moen. According to Dr. Moen, it may be because protective progesterone levels rise in the final trimester of pregnancy or because the body may expel precancerous endometrial cells from the uterus during delivery.
The study divided various recognised endometrial cancer risk variables, such as elevated body mass index (BMI), age at first menstruation, and menopause. The impact of the number of live births and years ovulating were especially examined. Obesity is a risk factor for endometrial cancer because it causes excessive quantities of oestrogen to be produced in fat tissue. Dr. Moen noted that the rise in endometrial cancer incidence around the world may be related to growing BMI levels, which are responsible for around 40% of endometrial cancer cases in developed nations.
Without regard to other established risk factors, we sought to learn more about the effects of live births.
We examined hundreds of genetic variants using data, and six of them were related to the quantity of live births. According to Dr. Moen, this study is the first time scientists have been able to prove a cause-and-effect link between having more children and a lower chance of getting endometrial cancer.The researchers were unable to determine whether the same held true for long periods of ovulation and the usage of oral contraceptives.
Researchers could learn more about the impact of oral contraceptive pill use and determine whether the hormonal or mechanical impacts of pregnancy have a greater protective effect by analysing larger datasets.