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JOURNAL: Iowa Women's Health Study
AUTHORS: Dr. Paul Limburg
ABSTRACT: Among postmenopausal women, excess body weight is a statistically significant risk factor for the development of colorectal cancer.
COMMENTARY: There have been consistent observational data that have suggested high body mass index is a risk factor for colon and rectal cancer among men and also among women at younger age. But excess body weight is a controversial risk factor for colorectal cancer among postmenopausal women.
Dr. Paul Limburg of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and colleagues assessed excess body weight, defined as a BMI > 25, as a predictor of incident colorectal cancer among 35,354 women in the prospective Iowa Women's Health Study.
During roughly a 12-year period, 988 women developed colorectal cancer. For women with excess body weight at baseline, at age 18, 30, and at menopause, the adjusted relative risk of colorectal cancer was 1.32, 1.37, 1.39, and 1.40, respectively.
The risk of colorectal cancer was attenuated among women with a history of excess body weight but no excess body weight at baseline. This suggests that weight loss may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.