Monday June 24, 2019

Overweight in Middle Age Linked to Low Breast Cancer Risk

At ages 25 to 34, each five-unit increase in BMI was linked to 15 per cent lower risk

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

While obesity has been shown to increase breast cancer risk in elderly, for younger women the opposite seems to be true. For pre-menopausal women, a higher body fat was linked to lower breast cancer risk, according to researchers.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Oncology, showed that there was 23 per cent lower breast cancer risk linked to each five-unit increase in body mass index (BMI) between the ages of 18 and 24.

At ages 25 to 34, each five-unit increase in BMI was linked to 15 per cent lower risk.

There was a 13 per cent lower risk for BMI at ages 35 to 44, and a 12 per cent lower risk for BMI at ages 45 to 54 years.

“We saw a trend where, as BMI went up, cancer risk went down. There was no threshold at which having a higher BMI was linked to lower cancer risk,” said Hazel B. Nichols, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina.

Cancer
Representational image. Pixabay

The trend could be attributed to multiple factors such as differences in hormones, including estrogen — primary female sex hormone — growth factors, or breast density, Nichols said.

Estrogen has known to be a key driver of breast cancer. But, the small amount of estrogen produced by fat tissue before menopause may help tell the ovaries that they can produce less estrogen and also regulate other hormones or growth factors, Nichols said, adding that after menopause, women with higher adipose tissue have higher estrogen levels and usually a higher breast cancer risk.

“In young women, estrogen is one factor that contributes, but it’s not the whole story,” she noted.

Also Read: Cancer: Salient Features of The Killer Disease

For the study, the team pooled data from 19 different studies to investigate breast cancer risk for a group of 758,592 women who were younger than 55 years.

However, “this study is not a reason to try to gain weight to prevent breast cancer. Heavier women have a lower overall risk of breast cancer before menopause, but there are a lot of other benefits to managing a healthy weight that should be considered,” Nichols noted. (IANS)

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Why Do Women Face Higher Heart Disease Risk after Breast Cancer? Find Out Here!

The cardiovascular effects may occur more than five years after radiation exposure

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Women, Heart Disease, Breast Cancer
Heart disease appears more commonly in women treated for breast cancer because of the toxicities of chemotherapy. Pixabay

Researchers have found that postmenopausal women with breast cancer are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

“Heart disease appears more commonly in women treated for breast cancer because of the toxicities of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and use of aromatase inhibitors, which lower estrogen,” said JoAnn Pinkerton, Professor at the University of Virginia.

The cardiovascular effects may occur more than five years after radiation exposure, with the risk persisting for up to 30 years.

“Heart-healthy lifestyle modifications will decrease both the risk of recurrent breast cancer and the risk of developing heart disease,” Pinkerton said.

Women, Heart Disease, Breast Cancer
Researchers have found that postmenopausal women with breast cancer are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Pixabay

The goal of the study was to compare and evaluate risk factors for cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women who are survivors of breast cancer and women without breast cancer.

For the findings, more than 90 postmenopausal breast cancer survivors were compared with 192 postmenopausal women.

The researchers found that postmenopausal women who are survivors of breast cancer showed a markedly stronger association with metabolic syndrome, diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertriglyceridemia and abdominal obesity, which are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The risk of cardiovascular mortality similarly increased to match death rates from cancer itself.

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“Women should schedule a cardiology consultation when breast cancer is diagnosed and continue with ongoing follow-up after cancer treatments are completed,” she added.

The study was published in the Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society. (IANS)