Excess Body Weight Increases Chances of Dying From Breast Cancer
Posted Jun 20 2011 11:19am
It is clear that obesity is linked to an increased chance of developing breast cancer and recent studies are also now suggesting that excess body weight might increase a breast cancer patient's odds of dying from breast cancer. However, this relationship between body weight and breast cancer mortality needs more clarification in regards to different forms of breast cancer, stage of disease, and more.
Data from a new breast cancer research study that examined the specific aspects of the relationship between body weight and breast cancer mortality was presented at the recent annual meeting of the Endocrine Society. For this study, investigators recruited nearly 4,000 women who took part in the California Teachers Study and who were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer between 1995 and 2006. Study volunteers reported their height and weight at the start of the study and their weight when they were 18 years of age. Analysis of the link between body mass index (BMI) and breast cancer mortality showed
Obesity (a BMI of at least 30) at the start of the study (near the time of breast cancer diagnosis) increased the risk of dying from breast cancer by 69%
Obesity at the the start of the study in breast cancer patients with regional or distant disease increased the risk of dying from breast cancer by 91%
The link between a high baseline BMI and the risk of death from breast cancer was only seen in patients with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer and was not seen in patients with estrogen receptor negative breast cancer.
Being overweight (BMI from 25 to 29) at the age of 18 years was linked to a 69% increased risk of dying from breast cancer.
Being overweight at 18 years of age tripled the risk of dying among the patients with estrogen-receptor negative breast cancer.
This large study continues to confirm the link between body weight and breast cancer mortality. This new study goes further and shows that being obese near the time of breast cancer diagnosis increased the risk of breast cancer metastasis and increased the risk of dying from estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. Interestingly, this link between body weight at the start of the study and risk of death from breast cancer was not seen for estrogen receptor negative breast cancer. This might be due to the generally higher levels of estrogen in overweight breast cancer patients.
Furthermore, this new study shows that being overweight early in one's life can also lead to an increased risk of dying from breast cancer. This clearly shows the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight throughout life. Thus, developing healthy diet and exercise habits throughout life are important for breast cancer prevention and survival.