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Obesity Responsible for 33,000 Breast Cancers Yearly

Posted Nov 09 2009 12:00am
The American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) issued a press release last week to announce their new estimates of cancer cases directly associated with obesity.  Several sources of information were used to determine these estimates, including a 2009 report, Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention, published by AICR and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) that estimated the percentage of cancers due to poor diet, excess weight and physical activity level.  You can read the full Policy Report and Expert Report HERE

Overall, this report indicated that 17% (33,000 cases) of breast cancer cases each year are due to being overweight.  That is a huge proportion of breast cancer cases that could have been preventable by simply maintaining a healthy body weight.  Other findings included:
  • Increasing BMI was associated with an increasing breast cancer risk.
  • Increasing amounts of physical activity reduce the amount of breast cancer recurrence and mortality.
  • Current methods of breast cancer therapy do not discuss the link between obesity and a sedentary lifestyle with breast cancer prognosis.
  • Obesity and a lack of physical activity are common both before and after breast cancer diagnosis.
 According to a separate AICR press release, breast cancer awareness (as well as other cancers) is shockingly low in the U.S.  Some of the cancer awareness numbers discussed in the press release include:
  • Only 51% of Americans realize that obesity is a cause of cancer
  • Only 46% of Americans are aware that a lack of physical activity increases cancer risk, including breast cancer risk. 
  • Only 52% of Americans realize that a diet low in fruits and vegetables increases breast cancer risk (as well as other cancers).
  • Only 20% of the population rated cancer, including breast cancer, as highly preventable.
  • In contrast to the above, 90% of Americans blame breast cancer and other cancers on 'cancer genes'.
This press release really highlights the nearly desperate need for an improvement in breast cancer awareness.   There are several things you can do to decrease your personal breast cancer risk.  In addition to increasing your physical activity and maintaining a health body weight, eating right can help reduce your breast cancer risk.  To read about my top 10 foods for fighting breast cancer, read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer (
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