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being overweight increases breast cancer risk?

this kind of stuff is always controversial, but the source is from the National Cancer Institute.

(SOURCES: Jiyoung Ahn, Ph.D., fellow, nutritional epidemiology branch, division of cancer epidemiology and genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.; Jay Brooks, chairman of hematology/oncology, Ochsner Health System, Baton Rouge, La.; Oct. 22, 2007, Archives of Internal Medicine)

MONDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Women who gain weight any time after the age of 18 are more likely to develop breast cancer than women who maintain a stable weight, a new study suggests.

In other words, when it comes to breast cancer, there's no good time to gain weight as an adult.

"We found that weight gain throughout adulthood as well as weight gain at specific stages of life were associated with risk of breast cancer, compared with maintaining a stable weight," said study lead author Jiyoung Ahn, a fellow with the nutritional epidemiology branch at the National Cancer Institute's division of cancer epidemiology and genetics. "Specific stages include during early reproductive years, late reproductive years, and perimenopausal and postmenopausal years."

Ahn's findings included women who did not take menopausal hormone therapy, which has been linked to a heightened risk of breast cancer.

"This is just one more very important piece of evidence demonstrating the importance of weight gain to the development of breast cancer," said Dr. Jay Brooks, chairman of hematology/oncology at Ochsner Health System in Baton Rouge, La.

The findings are published in the Oct. 22 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Obesity has been shown to be a risk factor for breast cancer during the postmenopausal years. This is probably because estrogens, which fuel breast cancer growth, accumulate in fat tissue. It's been unclear, however, if the timing of weight gain might influence risk.

For the new study, the researchers analyzed data on almost 100,000 postmenopausal women who were participating in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study.

At the beginning of the study, in 1996, the women reported their weight and body measurements at ages 18, 35 and 50. They were then classified, based on their body mass index, as underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.

Among women who did not take menopausal hormone therapy, gaining weight in the early reproductive years (ages 18 to 35), the late reproductive years (ages 35 to 50), perimenopausal and postmenopausal years (age 50 to the present) and throughout adulthood (age 18 to the present) was associated with a heightened risk of developing breast cancer compared with women who maintained a stable weight.

Women who were at or below a normal weight at age 18 but were overweight or obese at ages 35 and 50 had 1.4 times the risk of developing breast cancer, compared with women who had maintained a normal weight. Women who subsequently lost weight had the same cancer risk as those who maintained a stable weight.

But isn't gaining weight a normal part of aging?

Experts increasingly are saying no.

"The issue was outside of the scope of this study, [but] limited data suggest that weight gain is not inevitable with age," Ahn said.

Brooks added: "In our society, most people gain weight [as they age] but that may not be what we should be doing. It's something you should be avoiding as you age. It's not something you should assume just because it's the societal norm."


Tue. Oct 23, 11:08am

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You see fat people, you see old people, but rarely do you see fat, old people. It's not just women and breast cancer - being overweight can be attributed to many different kinds of illnesses.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007, 12:09 PM

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I've read this in many places, and specifically that the worst combination is being overweight post-menopause.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007, 4:47 PM

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help welcomed

"This is probably because estrogens, which fuel breast cancer growth, accumulate in fat tissue"

i'd like to start off by saying that i found this article very informing but i also found many hypocratical state ments within said article , as it says above, one of the suspected reasons for breast cancer is that estrogen acculates in fat tissues, but further down the article it states

"Women who subsequently lost weight had the same cancer risk as those who maintained a stable weight"

would anyone like to clear this up for me please because surely burning of the fat cells during exercise would decrease the cancerous cells if not remove them from the body. if anyone has any ideas please email me
im currently part taking in an a-level course , any help would be appreshiated

p.s. please excuse the spelling.


Monday, November 05, 2007, 5:50 PM

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I have read many studies recently linking obesity to many different cancers. Bottom line, it just isn't healthy and is causing a lot of health problems. I believe it!

Monday, November 05, 2007, 6:57 PM

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5:50 I had to read that statement twice myself. I initially mistook it to mean that if you subsequently lose weight you still are at an increased cancer risk. But those who maintained a stable weight did not have an increased risk, so it must mean that if you lose the weight you are no longer at increased risk. Which would make sense given that the extra estrogen would disappear with the fat. More motivation for the PT community!

Monday, November 05, 2007, 11:42 PM

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