Two Things to Cut Women’s Risk of Cancer

What if you could dramatically reduce your risk of developing cancer by adhering to two principles? The American Institute of Cancer Research estimates nearly 30,000 women in the United States could be spared of endometrial cancer – affecting as many as 50,000 women a year – if they exercise for 30 minutes a day and maintain a healthy body weight, according to a recent review.

Endometrial cancer forms in the lining of the uterus when abnormal cells multiply quickly, forming a tumor. These abnormal cells, unlike normal healthy cells in the uterus, do not die and can separate from the initial tumor. The cancer can then spread and metastasize in another part of the body if not detected and treated early. Health care providers are not sure exactly what causes endometrial cancer, but estrogen and hormone replacement therapy have been linked. Women on hormone replacement therapy are given progesterone to help protect against their risk. 

Body weight becomes a key risk factor, researchers believe, because fat cells secrete estrogen. One lead researcher, Dr. Elisa Bandera says the link with obesity is significant. “Women who are obese have two to three times the rate of endometrial cancer,” she explains in an interview with

On the topic of diet, what we eat may help or hurt our risk. The review also looked at eight studies identifying an association with coffee drinkers and a lower risk of endometrial cancer. Potential reasons coffee may help to protect women include that it helps by regulating insulin, as well as providing a boost of antioxidants. However, women should not pair their morning coffee with a muffin – as starchy foods with refined sugar or white flour can raise the glycemic load. Six studies showed a link between an elevated glycemic load and risk for endometrial cancer.

Bottom line: Researchers say the best ways to reduce your risk of endometrial cancer are to maintain a balanced glucose metabolism and body weight. In short, get regular exercise and maintain a healthy diet. 

Easy 30 Minute Exercises

Getting in 30 minutes of exercise a day does not mean you have to head to the gym every day. Take advantage of outdoor opportunities in New Mexico and in your local community to stay physically active while having fun. Mix it up. Try new things and find a buddy. Here are a few ideas to get started:

Brisk walking
Ballroom dancing

Easy Food Swaps

Simple changes can really add up when it comes to your diet. Try to limit the simple carbohydrates as much as you can and replace with whole grains. Here are a few examples of food swaps to help reduce your risk:

Blueberry muffin -> Swap for a whole-grain English muffin with almond butter

Pancakes -> Whole-wheat pancakes

White bread -> Multigrain toast

Instant oatmeal -> Steel-cut oatmeal

Sugar cookie -> Homemade granola

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