The obese endometrial cancer patient: how do we effectively improve morbidity and mortality in this patient population?

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Abstract

The relationship between obesity, metabolic syndrome, and endometrial cancer has been established and accepted for decades. However, despite this understanding, endometrial cancer patients continue to die of their obesity-related comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Furthermore, studies show that gynecologic oncologists, general obstetrician/gynecologists, and bariatric specialists do not appropriately address obesity as a risk factor for cancer and also do not provide appropriate counseling on weight loss and lifestyle modification during screening, diagnosis, and follow-up for endometrial cancer. Given the increasing numbers of obese women both in the United States as well as globally, it is imperative that this risk be addressed and mitigated during patient interactions. Therefore, this article reviews the literature on obesity, metabolic syndrome, and endometrial cancer, as well as the literature on causes of death in endometrial cancer patients. Given the increased cardiovascular and all-cause mortality, we provide a number of methods to address obesity as a risk factor for cancer during patient visits. These methods include self-directed diet and exercise, supervised diet and exercise programs, medical management with insulin-sensitizing agents and statins, as well as bariatric surgery in extreme cases. Furthermore, we also encourage collaboration between general obstetrician/gynecologists, gynecologic oncologists, and bariatric specialists in the care of obese endometrial cancer patients to ensure that they not only survive their diagnosis, but also go on to live long, healthy lives.

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