For women with kidney cancer, belly fat matters
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IMAGE: A cross-sectional CT scan of a female kidney cancer patient shows relatively little visceral fat (red) and more subcutaneous fat (blue). A new study shows female kidney cancer patients with… view more 

Credit: Joseph Ippolito

Belly fat affects the odds of women surviving kidney cancer but not men, according to a new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Half of female kidney cancer patients with substantial abdominal fat at the time of diagnosis died within 3 1/2 years, while more than half of women with little belly fat were still alive 10 years later, the researchers found. For men, the amount of abdominal fat appeared to make no difference in how long they survived.

The findings suggest that kidney cancer may develop and progress differently in women than men.

“We’re just beginning to study sex as an important variable in cancer,” said senior author Joseph Ippolito, MD, PhD, an instructor in radiology at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at the School of Medicine. “Men and women have very different metabolisms. A tumor growing in a man’s body is in a different environment than one growing inside a woman, so it’s not surprising that

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