Does Obesity Increase the Risk of Breast Cancer among Post Menopausal Women?

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A recent analysis in an article in  online  JAMA Oncology suggested that postmenopausal women who were overweight and obese had an increased risk of invasive breast cancer compared to women of normal weight. Results were based upon data from 67,142 postmenopausal women between 1993 and 1998 with a median age of 13 years of follow-up. There were 3,388 invasive breast cancers.

Results showed 1) women who were overweight or obese as measured by the body mass index had an increased risk of invasive breast cancer compared to women of normal weight measured by the body mass index; 2) the risk was greatest for women with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35 who had a increased risk of 58 percent when compared with women of normal weight (BMI under 25); 3) a BMI of 35 or higher was associated with an increased risk of estrogen and progesteron receptor-positive breast cancer but not estrogen receptor-negative cancers; 4) obesity was associated with markers of poor prognosis: women with a BMI greater than 35 were more likely to have large tumors, evidence of lymph none involvement and poorly  differentiated tumors; 5) women with a baseline BMI under 25 gaining more than 5 percent body weight during the follow-up period had an increased risk of breast cancer; 6) among overweight or obese women who changed weight (gain or lose) there was no increased risk of breast cancer during follow up; and 7)post-menopausal hormone therapy had no effect on the BMI-breast cancer relationship.  Researchers further said “Obesity is associated with a dose-response increased postmenopausal breast cancer risk, particularly for estrogen receptor-and progesterone receptor-positive disease, but risk does not vary by hormone therapy use ot race/ethnicity.” More research is needed according to the researchers.

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