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Sugary Drinks Tied to Endometrial Cancer Risk

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A new study has found that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with an increased risk for endometrial cancer in postmenopausal women.

Previous research has found an association between sugary drinks and Type 2 diabetes, but this is the first to find the same association with a specific type of endometrial cancer.

In 1986, 23,039 women, mean age 62, completed detailed questionnaires on lifestyle, medical history and diet. The group has been followed annually since then for cancer incidence. Through 2010, there were 506 Type 1 endometrial cancers and 89 Type 2, a more serious form of the disease.

The study, published online in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, found that all sugars increased the risk for Type 1 endometrial cancer, but sugar-sweetened drinks had the greatest effect. After controlling for other factors, those in the highest one-fifth for sweet drink consumption had a 74 percent higher risk than those in the lowest one-fifth.

“I don’t want anyone to change their behavior based on these findings,” said the lead author, Maki Inoue-Choi, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health. “We need to do more study to confirm this association. But I would advise people to follow dietary guidelines and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages.”

Compared with most other dietary sugars, sugars in drinks cause plasma glucose levels to rise higher and fall lower. These fluctuations may play a role in the increased risk of cancer, the researchers speculate.

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