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Lifestyle changes and the risk of developing endometrial and ovarian cancers: opportunities for prevention and management

Authors Beavis A, Smith A, Fader AN

Received 15 January 2016

Accepted for publication 28 February 2016

Published 23 May 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 151—167

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S88367

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Fredrick Rosario Joseph

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer


Anna L Beavis,1,* Anna Jo Bodurtha Smith,2,* Amanda Nickles Fader1

1Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, The Kelly Gynecologic Oncology Service, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, MD, 2Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Modifiable lifestyle factors, such as obesity, lack of physical activity, and smoking, contribute greatly to cancer and chronic disease morbidity and mortality worldwide. This review appraises recent evidence on modifiable lifestyle factors in the prevention of endometrial cancer (EC) and ovarian cancer (OC) as well as new evidence for lifestyle management of EC and OC survivors. For EC, obesity continues to be the strongest risk factor, while new evidence suggests that physical activity, oral contraceptive pills, and bariatric surgery may be protective against EC. Other medications, such as metformin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, may be protective, and interventional research is ongoing. For OC, we find increasing evidence to support the hypothesis that obesity and hormone replacement therapy increase the risk of developing OC. Oral contraceptive pills are protective against OC but are underutilized. Dietary factors such as the Mediterranean diet and alcohol consumption do not seem to affect the risk of either OC or EC. For EC and OC survivors, physical activity and weight loss are associated with improved quality of life. Small interventional trials show promise in increasing physical activity and weight maintenance for EC and OC survivors, although the impact on long-term health, including cancer recurrence and overall mortality, is unknown. Women’s health providers should integrate counseling about these modifiable lifestyle factors into both the discussion of prevention for all women and the management of survivors of gynecologic cancers.

Keywords: lifestyle, prevention, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, gynecologic cancer, obesity

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