Obese patients face aggressive ovarian cancer

Female patients who are obese tend to suffer from more aggressive types of ovarian cancer, a study has revealed.

The research, which is published in the American Cancer Society's journal Cancer, found that obese and severely overweight women are less likely to survive ovarian cancer, with tumours recurring sooner after cancer treatment than in women of ideal body weight.

The authors said that the findings support previous suggestions that obesity has an impact on ovarian cancer mortality "by influencing tumour biology".

Dr Andrew Li, principal investigator at the Cedars-Sinai Women's Cancer Research Institute in Los Angeles, told the Guardian: "While further molecular studies are warranted, our study suggests that fat tissue excretes a hormone or protein that causes ovarian cancer cells to grow more aggressively."

Ovarian cancer is one of the most lethal types of the disease, with 70 per cent of women dying within five years of diagnosis.

The US and northern Europe have the highest ovarian cancer rates in the world, according to Cancer Research UK.

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