Women who last give birth at age 40 or older have a 44 percent decreased risk of endometrial cancer when compared to women who have their last birth under the age of 25, according to strong evidence in a new, international study led by a researcher at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC).
Endometrial cancer strikes the endometrium, the tissue lining the uterus (womb), and is the most common gynecological cancer in the United States.
Veronica "Wendy" Setiawan, Ph.D., assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School, was the principal investigator of the study, "Age at Last Birth in Relation to Risk of Endometrial Cancer: Pooled Analysis in the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium," which found that risk begins to decrease after age 30 by approximately 13 percentage points for each five-year delay in last births. Compared to women who last give birth before age 25, those who have their last child between age 30 and 34 reduce their risk by 17 percent and those between age 35 and 39 reduce their risk by 32 percent.
"While childbearing at an older age previously has been associated with a lower risk of endometrial cancer, the size of this study definitively shows that late age at last birth is a significant protective factor after taking into account other factors known to influence the disease body weight, number of kids and oral contraceptive use," Setiawan said.
The study, believed to be the largest of its kind, examined pooled data from four cohort studies and 13 case-control studies. Funded by the National Cancer Institute, the research examined a total of 8,671 cases of endometrial cancer and 16,562 control subjects, all derived from studies in the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium. Results are now available online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
"We found that the lower risk of endometrial cancer continued for older mothers across
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University of Southern California - Health Sciences