Women, beware! Your excess belly fat in late 50s may pose a threat, as according to a study, body fat distribution in the trunk may increase risk of cancer, especially lung and gastrointestinal cancers, in postmenopausal women.
The results recorded 811 solid cancers with 293 breast and ovarian cancers, 345 lung and gastrointestinal (GI) cancers and 173 other cancers.
The findings put a new spin on weight management priorities for women in this this age-group, who are prone to abdominal weight gain, said study investigator Line Mærsk Staunstrup from Nordic Bioscience and ProScion, in Herlev, Denmark.
"When assessing cancer risk, body mass index (BMI) and fat percentage may not be adequate measures as they fail to assess the distribution of fat mass," she explained.
The team included 5,855 women with the mean age of 71 years, who underwent baseline dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans to assess body fat and body fat composition and have been followed for 12 years.
"The average elderly women can very much use this information, as it is known that the menopause transition initiates a shift in body fat towards the central trunk area. Therefore, elderly women should be especially aware of their lifestyle when they approach the pre-menopause age," said Mærsk Staunstrup.
Andrea De Censi from Galliera Hospital, in Genova, Italy said the study provides important confirmation of the role of obesity and particularly insulin resistance in the etiology of several cancers.
"While obesity has previously been linked to cancer risk, the link to lung cancer is new and intriguing," he commented.
The research was presented at the ESMO 2017 Congress in Madrid, Spain.