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Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Date:4/20/2010

tall putting on about 30 pounds, Sue said.

An increase in BMI of 5 kg/m2 or more over 30 years increased the risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer by 88 percent, compared with women whose BMI remained stable over the same period.

Among women whose BMI increased 5 kg/m2 or more from the age of 50 onwards, their risk for breast cancer increased 56 percent, compared with women whose BMI remained the same. That means that jumps in weight before and after age 50 boost a woman's odds for postmenopausal breast cancer, the researchers noted.

The increased risk for breast cancer was tied to the weight gain itself, not to becoming obese, Sue added.

The rise in risk may be due to an increase in the production of estrogen in the body's excess fat cells, which in turn may increase the number of cells produced in the breasts, upping the risk for cancer, Sue said.

The bottom line: "We believe healthy BMI maintenance throughout adulthood is important in terms of breast cancer risk," she said.

More information

For more information on breast cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.



SOURCES: Laura Sue, M.P.H., cancer research fellow, U.S. National Cancer Institute; April 20, 2010, presentation, American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, Washington D.C.


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