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Study finds clear link between obesity and risk of womb cancer

Research released this week has shown a clear link between obesity and increased risk of womb cancer. The study looked at 120,000 women in 7 different countries over a period of time. They found that a difference of 5 BMI points can double the risk of getting womb cancer. What they found was that in those who were overweight or obese there was higher levels of fasting insulin and testosterone in the blood, which led to an increased risk of womb cancer.

Being overweight is the second highest cause of cancer in the UK. Cancer Research UK estimates that 1 in 20 of cancer cases are linked to overweight or obesity. As well as womb cancer there are 12 other types of cancer which are linked, including breast, bowel, myeloma (a cancer of the blood) and liver.


How does being overweight cause cancer?

Extra fat in the body doesn’t just sit there, it's active, sending out signals to the rest of your body. These signals can tell cells in our body to divide more often, which can lead to cancer.

The signals released by fat cells can affect:

  • Growth hormones- too much body fat can cause levels of growth hormones to rise, which tells cells to divide more often. This raises the chance that cancer cells will develop.

  • Inflammation- when there are more fat cells in the body, immune cells go to the area, possibly to remove dead fat cells. This can lead to inflammation, which causes cells to divide more quickly. Over time, this can increase the risk of cancer.

  • Sex hormones- after the menopause, fat cells produce the hormone oestrogen. This can make cells in the breast and womb divide more often which increases the risk of cancer developing. 

Source: CRUK


Cancer Research UK advises us to move towards a healthy weight to lower our risk of cancer. While our weight can be influenced by lots of things there are some top tips we can all follow to help us be healthier.

Keep to a meal routine - eat at roughly the same time each day.

Cut down on calories - look for low fat options.

Walk off the weight - aim for 10,000 steps a day. If this feels a lot then build up slowly.

Pack a healthy snack - swap a sugary snack for fruit or plain popcorn.

Look at the labels - use food labels to work out how healthy a food is.

Take caution with your portions - don’t pile the food on your plate and avoid having seconds.

Get up on your feet - getting up more and moving around is beneficial for our health.

Think about your drinks - alcohol, fizzy drinks and energy drinks add calories to our diet.

Focus on your food - paying attention when we eat can help us eat less.

Remember your 5 a Day - try and have something at every meal.


It’s best not to try and make too many changes at once, doing things one by one means you are more likely to stick with them in the long term.

What will you do this week to move towards a healthier lifestyle?