Whole Body Matters in Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer risk higher in women with metabolic syndrome

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) An increased risk for cervical cancer may be found in women who have a combination of other health concerns. Fortunately, a healthy diet and exercise can help.

A recent study looked at a large group of women to see if women with high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and obesity combined - a condition known as metabolic syndrome - had a higher risk of cervical cancer.

The researchers found that women with metabolic syndrome had twice the risk of developing cervical cancer compared to women who did not.

"Talk to a doctor about your risk for metabolic syndrome."

Eribeth K. Penaranda, MD, from the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, TX, led a team to investigate links between cervical cancer and metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of risk factors that, when combined, can put a person at risk for diabetes, stroke or heart trouble. These risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and obesity. All of these risk factors can be improved through a healthy diet and exercise.

Previous research has shown metabolic syndrome to be associated with pancreatic and colon cancers.

For this study, researchers looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2010. A total of 585,924 women, 21 years of age and older, reported a history of cervical cancer.

Forty-nine percent of these women fit the diagnosis for metabolic syndrome. Of the women who had not had cervical cancer, only 33 percent fit the diagnosis for metabolic syndrome.

The results showed that women with risk factors for metabolic syndrome had twice the risk of developing cervical cancer. 

The researchers determined that having the group of risk factors that qualify a woman for metabolic syndrome doubled that woman’s chances of developing cervical cancer.

The link between metabolic syndrome and cervical cancer risk still existed even after researchers accounted for other cervical cancer risk factors, including a history of smoking, hormonal contraceptive use and having a high number of sexual partners.

The authors concluded that they found increased odds for cervical cancer in women who met the diagnosis for metabolic syndrome, but not in those with only individual risk factors of metabolic syndrome.

That is to say, women with high blood sugar may not have a greater chance of developing cervical cancer. However, an obese woman with high blood sugar, high blood pressure and high cholesterol may have a greater chance of developing cervical cancer.

This study was published in January in ISRN Oncology.

No outside funding sources were used for the research project. No conflicts of interest were declared.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 25, 2013
Last Updated:
August 15, 2013