What Does Being Overweight Have To Do With Breast Cancer
How Your Weight Affects Your Risk of Breast Cancer.
Over the years, a number of things have been thought of as being risk factors for breast cancer. From wearing an underwire bra, to having breast implants, to using antiperspirants, these risk factors have been debunked by several studies. One of the risk factors for breast cancer which research has strongly suggested can promote or even cause breast cancer, however, is one’s weight.
Why Weight is a Risk Factor. A sad but very real statistic about many adults today is that more than two-thirds (68.8%) of adults are considered to be overweight or obese, with 35.7% being obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Being overweight or obese causes a number of health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. In addition, women who have gone through menopause and who are overweight or obese are at a significantly higher risk for developing breast cancer, than their thinner counterparts.
Multiple studies have suggested that the female hormone, estrogen, can encourage cancerous tumors to grow in the body. Once a woman enters into menopause, most of her estrogen enters into her body through her fatty tissue. The more fatty tissue a woman has, the more estrogen she has in her body, which can promote unhealthy cancer growth. Not only that, but many overweight women also have higher than normal insulin levels due to insulin resistance (a pre-diabetic condition) and, yet another hormone linked to numerous cancers (including breast cancer).
Does Losing Weight Help?
The good news is that being overweight or obese doesn’t need to be a fixed or permanent state of being. You can start losing weight and reducing your chances of developing breast cancer and other chronic diseases associated with being overweight. According to a Nurses’ Health Study, women who were able to lose weight and keep it off for over 4 years after entering menopause had a 40% lower risk of breast cancer. Another smaller study suggested that after individuals underwent weight loss surgery, they had an 83% reduced risk of developing breast cancer.
How Much Weight Should I Lose?
Studies have shown that spending as little as 75 to 150 minutes every week, for example, going for a brisk walk around your neighborhood can reduce your health risks.
For most women, a healthy weight loss goal of losing 5-10% of your current weight will improve your overall health and not only reduce your chances of developing breast cancer, but several other serious diseases and ailments as well. A goal of losing 1 pound per week over a 6 month period is a sustainable and healthy way to approach your weight loss journey, and the good news is it doesn’t require any sudden or drastic changes to your lifestyle.
Schedule an appointment with your doctor or health care provider today and create a customized plan that will get you back in shape, feeling great, and staying healthy.