Studies have consistently shown that women who are overweight compared to women who maintain a normal weight have higher risk of developing breast cancer. New studies however shows that moderate loss of weight in overweight and obese women decreases risk for breast cancer.
Who are considered overweight or obese women?
To find out click if one is overweight or obese we use the BMI (body mass index) to calculate and if it is over 25 one is considered overweight, if it is higher than 30 one is considered obese. The higher the BMI the greater the risk; a BMI of >35 had 52%, BMI of >40 had 86% increased risk of developing cancer compared to women with BMI of <25.
Overweight and Obesity Linked to Cancers
The higher risk breast cancer in over weight women has been partially blamed to increase amount of fat cells. These fat cells produce estrogen so the more fat cells one has the higher the amount of estrogen released to the body. This would stimulate the positive hormone breast cancer receptors in the breast to develop cancer. It has also been noted that fat cells produce inflammatory substances that cause chronic inflammation in the body which can increase the risk of breast cancer and other forms of cancers. In fact there are 12 other cancers that are noted increased with overweight and obesity and according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Studies also have shown that 40% of cancers are associated with obesity.
The progressively increasing amount of obesity in recent years is an alarming trend around the world. Today 66% of women are considered obese, thus they are at an increased risk for breast and other cancers.
Studies on Weight Loss and Reduction of Breast Cancer Risk
The good news is a new study reports that even just a loss of 5% body weight or on the average 10 lbs. among those overweight and obese women significantly reduces the risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who did not loss weight.
This research called the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study (WHI) involved 161,608 postmenopausal women ages 50-79. None of these women had breast cancer when they joined the group. The object of the study was to find links between health, diet, and lifestyle factors and health problems such as cancer. Rowan Chlebowski, MD, PhD lead researcher wanted to find out if losing weight resulted in decrease risk of developing breast cancer.
During the 11.4 years of study 3,061 women got newly diagnosed breast cancer. They found that those who lost 5% body weight or more were 12% less likely to get breast cancer. Women who lost 15% or more weight were 37% less likely to develop breast cancer.
Prevention Is Better Than Treatment
It could not be over emphasized that “An ounce of prevention is better that a pound of cure.” This true especially in you’re talking about cancer. So if find yourself obese or overweight do something about it.
I know as one gets older losing weight is a lot more difficult, but with the right diet and exercise program it could be done. Consult you doctor, health couch or a fitness trainer to create program tailored for you and to follow-up your progress.
For more information on breast cancer and diet to lose weight go to Breast Cancer Risk Factors: Being Overweight