May 22, 2006

Obesity raises overall risk of breast cancer-study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Women who gain weight as adults face
a higher lifetime risk of all types of breast cancer,
researchers reported on Monday.

The study adds to a large body of evidence showing that
weight and breast cancer can be closely linked.

A study of more than 44,000 women found that the more
weight a woman gained, the greater her risk for all types,
stages, and grades of breast cancer.

Compared to women who gained 20 pounds (10 kg) or less
during adulthood, women who gained more than 60 pounds (27 kg)
were almost twice as likely to have ductal type breast tumors
and more than 1.5 times more likely to have lobular type
cancers, Heather Spencer Feigelson of the American Cancer
Society and colleagues found.

The risk of breast cancer that had spread tripled for women
who gained more than 60 pounds (27 kg), they reported in
Monday's issue of the journal Cancer.

Breast cancer risk is linked to increased levels of the
hormone estrogen and fat tissue produces estrogen, adding to
the risk.

"These data further illustrate the relationship between
adult weight gain and breast cancer, and the importance of
maintaining a healthy body weight throughout adulthood," the
researchers wrote.

A study published earlier this month found that women who
take estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy for 20 years or
longer to treat symptoms of menopause have a higher risk of
developing breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death
among U.S. women, after lung cancer. More than 200,000 people
are diagnosed and another roughly 40,000 die from it each year,
according to the American Cancer Society.

Globally more than 1.2 million men and women develop breast
cancer every year.