Any woman who decides to become a mother immediately takes on a whole world of new responsibilities. And then of course there are the worries and concerns that come with being a new mama. Add to that the fact that many women wait to have kids until later in life, and then there are a host of other potential issues. As an "older mom" myself -- I had my babies when I was 37 -- I was told about all the risks and often I felt those risks were overblown by doctors who don't spend enough time looking at patients and all the amazingly happy successful births of babies to moms of advanced maternal age. Still, I'm not naive to the potential risks -- there are risks with everything. But the risk of getting endometrial cancer has been shown to be lower in moms who give birth after 30.
What is going on with our bodies after 30 that pregnancy can actually prevent a disease?
Those at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California found that the hormone progesterone during pregnancy may help fight off endometrial cancer mostly because the critical time when it develops is after 30. Cancer or potentially cancerous cells can shed during childbirth. There also is a theory that women over 30 who haven't had kids yet have a healthier endometrium. It's fascinating, really. They found that the women who give birth after 30 are 44 percent less likely to develop the disease than those who gave birth before 25 years of age. Quite significant.
This isn't just something to celebrate for older moms -- though we really deserve it when far too often we are told horrible statistics that can make us stress out far too much. But these findings can help why women, all women, get this disease. By knowing why women do not get it, that knowledge can also help us figure out how to prevent it. Currently endometrial cancer can be treated with surgery; the survival rates, however, depend on how early the woman has a diagnosis.
Let's celebrate this. Not make it about older moms are better than younger moms or even have younger moms feel worried they are at a risk for endometrial cancer. Instead let's be happy we are making strides in knowing how to prevent anyone from getting the disease.
What do you think of this study?
Image via AndrewEick/Flickr