While it's difficult to figure out just what triggers many cases of cancer, doctors know that certain health habits can increase your chances of getting the disease. Smoking is a big one, but so is this other lesser-known risk factor: belly fat.
The flab around our bellies is already a culprit in heart disease and diabetes. But a new study published in the British Medical Journal today also found that having more fat around our waistlines could increase the chances of getting pancreatic cancer and, especially, uterine cancer.
To calculate your risk, you need a tape measurement and a calculator. Now measure your waist and your hips. Divide the waist size by the hip measurement and you get your waist-to-hip ratio. (So, for example, if your waist is 34 inches and your hips are 41 inches, you divide 34 by 41 to get 0.83.)
The higher the ratio, the higher the risk. And for every point your ratio goes up--say, from 0.8 to 0.9--your chances for developing uterine cancer goes up by 21 percent. The bottom line, say researchers: Treat body fat like any other type of risk factor and try to maintain a healthy weight.