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Breast Cancer and Weight Gain

Excessive weight linked to greater risk of breast cancer in women

Breast Cancer - A new study claims that postmenopausal women (especially those who do not use hormone therapy) should strive to keep their weigh within certain limits to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.  

Medical researchers writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association say studies indicate that one of six postmenopausal breast cancers may be preventable if women keep their weight variance within four to five pounds after the age of 18.

Dr. Zhiping Huang of Harvard University's School of Public Health said a study of 92,256 participants showed that up to a third of new postmenopausal breast cancer cases were caused by hormone replacement therapy, adult weight gain or a combination of those factors. 

Obesity appears to reduce the incidence of breast cancer prior to menopause, the researchers say, but after menopause extra weight increases the risk of both breast cancer development and death.

The study found a much stronger association between weight gain and development of breast cancer in postmenopausal women who never used hormones. 

Women in this group who gained 22 to 44 pounds were at 61 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer, while those gaining more than 44 pounds were at almost double the risk of breast cancer than women with minimal weight change. 

The study found that premenopausal and postmenopausal women who were obese or who gained weight in adulthood were more likely to die from breast cancer. This was especially true for postmenopausal women who had never used hormones.

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