It has been found that women classed as obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of over 25, have a higher risk of getting breast cancer. This is compared to women of a healthy weight. But what is the reason for this risk, and what implications does it have? In this article, we take a look:
Why the higher risk?
The higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer for obese women is understood to be due to the estrogen which is produced by fat cells. Because of the higher level of estrogen in obese women, there is more chance of the estrogen making breast cancers which are hormone receptor-positive. There are other factors which affect the link between breast cancer and obesity, too. The location of the surplus weight can be influential, as it has been found that extra weight in the stomach region can increase the risk more than extra fat in other areas such as the hips or thighs.
Breast cancer recurrence
You should note that obese women are also at a higher risk of recurring breast cancer when they have had the disease previously.
Battling the fat
There are a number of measures which women can take in order to reduce body weight and battle the obesity that can increase breast cancer risk. Aside from taking more exercise, dietary changes can be vital to cutting the calories needed to tackle obesity. As a starting point, this can involve speaking to your doctor in order to determine a healthy weight to aim for, based on factors such as height, age, activity level, body type.
Looking at the type of food you are eating, and cutting out items which don’t offer a lot nutrients and are high in fats and sugars, can certainly help. Replacing those foods with healthy choices such as lean proteins, vegetables and fruit, can be one way of getting more nutrients, and gaining less weight.
Eating smaller portions, replacing carbonated sugary drinks with water, and avoiding refined carbohydrates are other steps you can take in order to bring your weight down, and reduce your risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.