A substance commonly found in foods such as kidneys, liver, shellfish and mushrooms increases a woman's risk of womb cancer by 22 per cent, a study has shown.
The metal cadmium - which is also found in tobacco - which was discovered in high amounts in patients who had the disease.
Smoking was shown to more than double our cadmium exposure, according to experts from The University of Missouri.
They say that it is not necessary to cut cadmium-containing foods from your diet but warn they should be eaten in moderation.
Cadmium is said to disrupt the hormonal balance and encourage rapid cell division.
'Cadmium is an estrogen-mimicking chemical, meaning it imitates estrogen and its effects on the body,' explained lead author professor Jane McElroy.
Womb cancer has been linked to smoking and cadmium-rich foods (file photo)
'Endometrial cancer has been associated with estrogen exposure. Because cadmium mimics estrogen, it may lead to an increased growth of the endometrium, contributing to an increased risk of endometrial cancer.'
Endometrial cancer - also called womb or uterine cancer - is the fourth most common cancer in women in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.
It is more common in females who have been through the menopause, and most cases are diagnosed in women aged 40 to 74, according to NHS Choices.
The most common symptom of womb cancer is abnormal bleeding from the vagina, although most people with abnormal bleeding don't have cancer.
Bleeding may start as light bleeding accompanied by a watery discharge,