Later pregnancy, lower cancer risk- are we actually saving lives?

The older a woman is when she gives birth, the lower her risk for endometrial cancer, a study reported in the New York Times.

A large team of researchers pooled data from 17 studies that included 8,671 cases of endometrial cancer and 16,562 controls. After adjusting for known risks, the researchers found that women who had their last babies after age 40 had a 44 percent reduced risk of endometrial cancer, compared with women who had their babies before age 25.

Even later in life, women who gave birth after age 40 remained at decreased risk. By age 70, these women were still 33 percent less likely to have endometrial cancer than those who gave birth before age 25.

The reasons for the finding, published last week in The American Journal of Epidemiology, are unclear. It may be that women who can get pregnant at a later age have a healthier endometrium to begin with, or that pregnancy allows women to shed precancerous cells likelier to be present with increasing age.

It's exciting to know that in addition to helping women over 40 have a baby that we may be saving lives by reducing their chance of endometrial cancer as well.

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