A recent report from the National Cancer Institute suggests that older women who are over weight increase their risk for breast cancer. The study looked at the health histories from nearly 100,000 postmenopausal women and examined their change in weight, or body mass index (BMI), over their adult lifetime.
Women who were not obese or overweight at age 18 but were at ages 35 to 50 had almost double the risk of developing breast cancer compared with women who maintained a normal weight, according to a Science Daily report on the study.
An earlier study in 2006 reached similar conclusions with younger women. “Women who gained more than 60 pounds between age 20 and the time they reached menopause were 70% more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than those who gained fewer than 20 pounds during that same time,” states breastcancer.org in a review of the study.
These results “suggest that maintaining your weight as you get older is a very smart step toward keeping your breast cancer risk as low as it can be,” according to comments by breastcancer.org.
Ahn, J., et al, 2007. “Adiposity, Adult Weight Change, and Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Risk,” Arch Intern Med. http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/gca?allch=&SEARCHID=1&VOLUME=167&FIRSTPAGE=2091&FIRSTINDEX=0&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=1&gca=archinte%3B167%2F19%2F2091
Science Daily, 2007. “Weight Gain Related to Posmenopausal Breast Cancer Risk”
Breastcancer.org, 2006. “Weight Gain Affects Breast Cancer Risk”
Doheny, K., 2007. “Weight Gain After Breast Cancer Deadly”