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Breast Cancer Blog: Overweight May Be Associated With Poor Breast Cancer Outcome

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Jan 16, 2006

Overweight May Be Associated With Poor Breast Cancer Outcome

Overweight May Be Associated With Poor Breast Cancer Outcome
Breast cancer patients who are overweight may have somewhat poorer survival odds than leaner women with the disease. The findings, from a study of breast cancer patients in China, mirror those of some studies in Western countries, where excess weight has been linked to a greater risk of dying from the disease.

The study included 1,455 Chinese women who were followed for roughly five years after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

While most women were still alive after five years, those who were overweight at the time of diagnosis or soon afterward had a poorer survival rate.

Eighty percent of overweight women were still alive versus 86.5 percent among the leanest women and 84 percent among those who were slightly heavier but still in the normal weight range.

The link between body weight and survival remained when the researchers considered important factors in death risk, such as age, tumor size at diagnosis and the type of treatment patients received.

It's not fully clear why excess weight might lower a woman's chances of surviving breast cancer, but Shu's team points to a number of possibilities. Some studies have found that obese women tend to be diagnosed at later stages in the disease -- though, in this study, overweight women had poorer survival even when their cancer was caught early.

Another theory is that excess body fat, by boosting levels of estrogen, testosterone and other hormones, helps speed the growth and spread of breast tumors. Some studies have also linked excess weight to a higher risk of developing breast cancer in the first place, and the hormonal effects of extra body fat are suspected of playing a role.

Shu said, in general, moderate exercise and a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains are key.


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Breast cancer blog: Breast cancer blog is run by Emily and other bloggers and they bring you the latest stories, news and events that are related to breast cancer. Increasing awareness about breast cancer among women and in the general population is the main goal of this breast cancer blog.

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Breast cancer
Every year, more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Breast cancer ranks second as the leading cause of cancer deaths in American women. Until recently breast cancer topped the list of leading causes of cancer deaths in women, but lately lung cancer has claimed the top position. If skin cancer is excluded, breast cancer is the commonest cancer among American women.

Breast Cancer Blog: Overweight May Be Associated With Poor Breast Cancer Outcome

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