Obesity Raises Risk of Death from Breast Cancer

According to new research using data from more than 80,000 breast cancer patients, younger women who are obese have a 34% increased risk of dying from their cancer.

It’s been established that carrying excess weight increases the risk of getting breast cancer, but it hasn’t been clear just how harmful it is, and whether a woman’s age or the type of cancer she has matters. It turns out that these factors DO matter when it comes to surviving breast cancer. The researchers found that obesity is only significantly dangerous for women who get breast cancer before menopause and who have the type that thrives on the hormone estrogen– the most common type. For post-menopausal women and those who had “hormone-negative” breast cancer, being obese did not have a significant effect on their rate of survival.

Fat cells produce estrogen, which may play a part in the obesity-cancer link. Additionally, a recent study found that chronic disturbances to levels of insulin and glucose in the body may be the culprit behind obesity-linked cancers. A poor diet and sedentary lifestyle contribute to increased body fat and produces an overall environment within the body that is conducive to cancer development. “Insulin is responsible for regulating blood glucose, which serves as a fuel for cell growth. Obese individuals are more likely to have higher concentrations of both insulin and glucose, an undesirable condition that may promote cancer cells to grow, multiply, and spread rapidly, as compared to individuals who do not have these abnormalities,” said the study author. You can read more about the findings here.

Dr. Gregory Walton, expert weight loss surgeon of WeightWise Bariatric Program said, “As bariatric surgeons, we have long known the easily observed benefits from weight loss surgery (WLS)  – weight reduction, dramatic blood sugar improvements, improved mobility, etc.  Large studies evaluating the differences between morbidly obese people treated with WLS and those who get conventional (nonsurgical) treatment repeatedly show not only are the morbidly obese more susceptible to some cancers, the cancers seem to be more aggressive in morbidly obese individuals. Now, we may be peeling back some of the science behind those observations.”

Comments are closed.