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STUDY: Large American Cancer Society Study Reinforces Evidence of Dangers of Being Overweight
JOURNAL: American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study
AUTHORS: Eugenia Calle, PhD,
ABSTRACT: Women who are overweight or obese after menopause have a greater risk of dying from breast cancer than women who maintain a normal weight.
COMMENTARY: Overweight and obesity were measured by body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight that is adjusted for height. Breast cancer mortality rates increased continually and substantially with increasing BMI, and were twice as high in obese women than in lean women. Based on the results of this study, the authors estimated that 30% to 50% of breast cancer deaths among postmenopausal women in the US may be attributed to overweight and obesity.
The good news is that unlike many risk factors for breast cancer, weight is modifiable. If women can avoid weight gain in adulthood and maintain a lean to normal weight throughout life , they will be at lower risk of dying from breast cancer.
Most previous studies of how weight affects a woman’s breast cancer risk have been unable to examine risk across a wide range of body mass , and few studies have looked at breast cancer mortality.
In addition, most studies have been too small to investigate potential differences between weight and breast cancer mortality in subgroups of women. CPS II included 424,168 postmenopausal women who were cancer-free when they enrolled in the study in 1982. After 14 years of follow-up, 2,852 women had died of breast cancer.