Soft drinks laden with sugar could raise a woman’s risk of developing womb cancer, claim researchers.
They said those who downed the highest amounts were 78 per cent more likely to suffer from the disease as those who did not.
The disease tends to hit women aged 50-plus and is Britain’s fourth most common female cancer, killing nearly 2,000 a year.
The 14-year study involving almost 25,000 women in their 50s and 60s looked into endometrial cancer, which affects the lining of the womb.
The participants gave detailed data about what they ate and drank, with around half having fizzy drinks.
Almost 600 developed endometrial cancer, the most common form of the disease when it affects the womb. However, there was no link with diet versions.
The University of Minnesota researchers said that they couldn’t rule out that women who had lots of sugar-laden drinks had lots of unhealthy habits.
However, they believe the sugar in the soft drinks to be key as it could make the women put on weight. This is important because fat cells make oestrogen, a hormone that is believed to fuel endometrial cancer.
Overweight women also tend to make more insulin, another hormone linked to the disease.
Researcher Dr Maki Inoue-Choi said: ‘Research has documented the contribution of sugar-sweetened beverages to the obesity epidemic.
‘Too much sugar can boost a person’s overall calorie intake and may increase the risk of health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.’
The study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, is the latest in a long line to raise concerns about the health effects of the soft drinks enjoyed by millions of Britons every day.
Previous studies have linked them to a host of health problems, including heart attacks, diabetes, weight gain, brittle bones, pancreatic and prostate cancer, muscle weakness and paralysis.
The soft drinks industry says that its products account for a tiny amount of overall calorie intake.
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