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Obesity Linked to Poor Prognosis for Some Breast Cancer Patients
Date:3/14/2008

Study focused on locally advanced breast cancer and inflammatory breast cancer

FRIDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- Women who are overweight or obese when diagnosed with locally advanced breast cancer face a higher chance of recurrence and a shorter life expectancy than either normal or underweight patients, a new study suggests.

The researchers also found that obese patients are more likely than overweight, normal or underweight patients to be diagnosed with a rare, aggressive and deadly form of locally advanced breast cancer, known as inflammatory breast cancer (IBC).

"We already know that obesity is a risk factor for many diseases, and now we're showing that women who are obese or overweight essentially face a higher risk for getting a more aggressive form of breast cancer, and progress faster and die faster from their disease," said study senior author Dr. Massimo Cristofanilli. He is an associate professor in the department of breast medical oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The findings are published in the March 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

Locally advanced breast cancer (LABC), which is cancer that has spread to nearby tissue or lymph nodes, accounts for about 5 percent of all breast cancers in the United States. In medically underserved parts in the country and the developing world, about half of all breast cancer cases are LABC, the researchers said.

The even more lethal IBC form of breast cancer strikes between 1 percent and 2 percent of U.S. breast cancer patients.

Noting that six in 10 Americans are obese or overweight, Cristofanilli and his colleagues explored possible weight-cancer connections by analyzing data on 606 women who had received similar care for stage III locally advanced breast cancer at M.D. Anderson between 1974 and 2000.

Records of body-mass index revealed that two-thirds of the patients
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