weight and breast cancer risk

Losing weight can help reduce breast cancer risk, claims American report

Looking for any more inspiration for shifting the pounds put on over the festive period? Research from the US has produced a massively important fact: that losing weight can help women cut their breast cancer risk by up to a third.

The study, which was conducted by the Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research at City of Hope in California, and presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium last month, claimed that ‘modest’ weight loss significantly cuts the chances of developing breast cancer.

The link between excess weight and increased risk of cancer has been a subject of discussion amongst the medical community for years, and the picture appears to becoming clearer as time goes on. It’s accepted that excess weight raises the risk of breast cancer, due to fat cells producing hormones and proteins that are released into the bloodstream and carried around the body, which can increase the risk of several different types of cancer.

Not only that, but fat cells can also attract immune cells to body tissues, which release chemicals that cause long-lasting inflammation and can raise the risk of cancer. Whether or not these risks could be reduced by a healthy diet has been a bone of contention for years amongst the health industry.

Slim down your diet, beef up your chances of survival

The research tracked the health and weight of over 61,000 women aged between 50 and 79 for eleven years, and found that those who lost 5% of their weight saw their breast cancer risk fall by 12% – and the risk fell by 37% for postmenopausal women who slimmed down by 15%.

The findings have been welcomed across the board, with people like Baroness Delyth Morgan, the Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, claiming a potential breakthrough for cancer avoidance and long-term survival.

“This important study provides further, clear evidence that postmenopausal women can significantly reduce their breast cancer risk by taking steps to lose weight,” claimed Baroness Morgan. “Breast cancer risk increases with age. Being overweight after the menopause does increase your risk of the disease, likely because fat tissue becomes a women’s main source of oestrogen after the menopause. The less body fat you have, the lower your oestrogen levels, which can decrease your breast cancer risk.” she added.

Help defuse the obesity time bomb

As we know, obesity is a major problem in the UK, with 60% of British women being classified as overweight or obese, with the highest rates of obesity among those in middle age. Obesity has already been identified as the most important factor in developing breast cancer – more than even smoking and alcohol – by certain British studies, with post-menopausal women running the most risk.

The solution is obvious: move more, eat less – or at the least, eat more of the right things. And remember – a health regime isn’t just for January.