Veronica Hendrix

*My family member has done amazing well with the prescribed treatment for her adenocarcinomas. It has been a blessing from God and we thank him often for his grace and favor.

But I often wonder how many women know about this kind of cancer and the importance of early detection.

Hope you enjoy this encore offering and perhaps this will inspire you to visit your doctor soon.

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As women, there are many kinds of cancer that we have an increased risk of being predisposed to in our lifetime. Breast cancer is the most common, followed by skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer and cervical cancer. And we are fully aware of the fact that early detection is the best defense when it comes to increasing your survival rate.

But if you are a woman, there is another cancer you need to know about.

Unfortunately it’s just not getting the air or ink it deserves. In fact, preventing this kind of cancer is virtually in your hands. It’s called adenocarcinomas, which is cancer of the uterus and endometrium.

You see this kind of cancer is directly related to obesity. Let me say this again – this kind of cancer is directly related to obesity. And if you are overweight you have a 50% increased risk of developing this kind of cancer. This cancer became very personal to me when a close family relative was recently diagnosed with it following a routine, postmenopausal Pap examine. She was told by her doctors, “Your cancer is directly related to your obesity and the excess fat around your abdomen.” I later found out that other women in my family who were also obese had battled this disease too.

That’s why we have to declare war on obesity. Our expanding waistlines are the battlefield. Our bulging middles are more like land mines that predispose us to at least nine different cancers such as colon, kidney, pancreas, gallbladder, liver, stomach, esophagus, breast and uterine cancer.

Researchers have found that excessive fat cells cause mutations that actually fuel different kinds of cancer growth. They have also found that fat cells are not dormant but metabolically active and changing. And excessive fats cell around the middle in women produce an excess of estrogen, which can elicit changes in the endometrium of the uterus. Over the long term those changes can spur out-of- control growth of cells in the uterus that can lead to cancer.

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 41,200 new cases of uterus cancer diagnosed in the United States this year. They also estimate that about 7,000 women die from it this year alone. About 70% all endometrial cancer cases have been found in women between the ages of 45 and 74. The chance of a woman being diagnosed with this kind of cancer in her lifetime is 1 in 38. Those chances are extremely high. They are alarmingly high, especially when 70% of all African American women in this country are either overweight or obese. And the obesity rates of African American girls are the fastest growing among any demographic group in the nation. So they too are on the road to meeting this ill fate, probably much sooner in life unless we employ Herculean measures to derail them.

I know that “big girls” have struggled and travailed to gain self-respect and dignity. Designers have heard their cry for fabulous fashions for their full figures. And television has featured their flair and femininity, bolstering their confidence, acceptance and self esteem. I don’t want to take any of that away from them.

All that aside, obesity is a serious matter that can lead to serious health and life threatening problems, even death.

Thanks to early detention and treatment, my family member is now cancer free and has lost about 50 pounds and counting. But prevention through maintaining a healthy weight throughout one’s life is the best defense, a message my family member asked me to emphasize to all of you.

If you or the women in life have not had a Pap examine in the past year, please schedule one after you finish reading this piece. And if you are overweight, you now know why you have to lose the weight, starting today. Get serious about it. Stop playing with the odds.

(If you have comments about Veronica’s View, email them to [email protected].)