Lead researcher Hannah Arem, a doctoral candidate at the Yale School of Public Health and a pre-doctoral research fellow in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues investigated BMI and physical activity in relation to five- and 10-year survival among 1,400 women diagnosed with endometrial cancer, which affects the lining of the uterus.
Compared to patients with a BMI ranging from 18.5 to 24.9 -- a range considered healthy -- endometrial cancer patients with a BMI ranging from 25 to 29.9 were 74 percent more likely to die within five years of diagnosis, Arem said.
The mortality rate increased to 84 percent for women with a BMI of 30 to 34.9 and to 135 percent for BMI greater than or equal to 35.
The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, also found regardless of BMI, women who engaged in greater than 7 hours per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity before diagnosis had an approximate 36 percent reduction in five-year mortality rates compared to women who never or rarely exercised.
"This study provides new evidence that a healthy body mass index and higher physical activity levels are associated with better endometrial cancer survival," Arem said in a statement.