The following is a letter I sent to the Fat Studies Group in hopes that I can get some answers on this issue. I wanted to go ahead and post it here, because I'm sure anything a doc has told me, other docs have told other fatties. Any helpful responses I get, I'll post here as well (if I can get permission) or at least summarize so that others can benefit from whatever wisdom the Fat Studies Group members are kind enough to share.
Also, hey, I know there are plenty more smart and wise people in the world than can possibly be contained in one Fat Studies Group (even as awesome as this group is)! So if you have thoughts/wisdom/knowledge to add, please do! :)
TO: Fat Studies Group
I need your wisdom and your knowledge, please. I am in
a great deal of distress over some medical stuff and accompanying
weight blaming, and I need to arm myself with information in order to
navigate my way through.
As have so many of us, I have spent a lot of time, energy, and
resources working to unlearn the paradigm that fat=health risk and that
lose weight=better health outcomes. I know to ignore docs when they tell
me to lose weight to improve my blood pressure, cholesterol, prevent
diabetes, etc. I know it's about healthy behaviors, not a weight or a
BMI on a chart. I know that when the myriad medical voices and social
pressures get too overwhelming and gastric bypass starts to sound like a
magic wand, I need to turn to my support system and recharge and remind
myself that it is SO NOT the answer. I am a believer in Fat Lib, HAES,
the whole shebang.
And yet... I've gotten a new argument thrown at me that I haven't encountered before, and it's thrown me for a loop.
Apparently now I need to lose weight or I'm going to get uterine cancer. Let me 'splain...
Over the past few weeks, I've undergone treatment for high level
precancerous cells in my cervix, starting with a bad PAP that identified
the problem, and culminating in a cone biopsy (surgical procedure to
remove the precancerous cells). While the specialist was performing the
biopsy, he also did a d+c, grabbing some of the uterine lining for
analysis. Uterine cancer was in no way indicated by previous test
results nor was there any symptom to suggest I might have uterine
cancer. He recommended doing it because, according to him, excess
adipocytes (fat cells) lead to high estrogen levels, and is one of the
primary risk factors for uterine cancer. Since I have had irregular
periods most of my life (another risk factor) and the test is relatively
non-invasive and low-risk, I agreed. I got my pathology results on
Wednesday, and the uterine lining test results came back clean and
We know that the cervical precancerous cells were caused by HPV,
nothing to do with my weight, hormone levels, etc etc. Yet he spent most
of my appointment talking about my high risk for uterine cancer due to
my weight, rather than focusing on the abnormal/precancerous cervical cells - the actual
issue I was being treated for, AND the area where actual precancerous
cells were present! When I expressed some worry about the results of the
cervical biopsy and the fact that we hadn't actually gotten all the
precancerous cells from my cervix he stated, and I quote, "I am relieved
that there was no evidence of invasive cancer, and that the... biopsy
did not mandate that we had to do another cone
biopsy or hysterectomy." Where did hysterectomy come in?? Seriously, not
a word you just throw around when talking to a 32 year old woman who is
seriously committed to having babies in the next 5 years. Holy sh*t, I
think he was trying to be reassuring but only ended up scaring the
bejeezus out of me.
Does anyone have any information you can share about the
relationship of fatness and fat cells with risk of uterine cancer? Is
this the exception to the HAES rule? Has my fatness doomed my
reproductive system, as this doc would have me believe? Please share
some science to counteract the doom, gloom, and terror I'm experiencing!