Another Reason to Exercise: Obesity Boosts Risk for Aggressive Breast Cancer

[ 0 ] March 2, 2011 |

Just in case you need yet another reason to get off the couch and tie on those running shoes, a new study shows that obesity and inactive lifestyle increases the risk of contracting an aggressive form of breast cancer in women.

The study of postmenopausal women shows that the heaviest women were 35 percent more likely to develop so-called triple-negative breast cancers that are not fueled by the hormone estrogen, than the thinnest women studied, according to WebMD. Tripe-negative breast cancers are less common yet more deadly than other types of breast tumors because they have a poorer prognosis than others and there are no targeted hormonal therapies available to treat them.

“Despite biological and clinical differences, triple-negative and ER+ breast cancers are similarly associated with BMI [body mass index] and recreational physical activity in postmenopausal women,” the study says.

The reason the results are so surprising is because fat tissue is a main source of estrogen production in women, but these tumors are not fueled by that hormone. The study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, raises new questions about what besides estrogen fuels tumor growth.

The breast cancer statistics in this country are staggering:

  • About 1 in 8 women in the United States (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • In 2010, an estimated 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 54,010 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
  • About 1,970 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in men in 2010. Less than 1% of all new breast cancer cases occur in men.
  • From 1999 to 2006, breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. decreased by about 2% per year [possibly due to decreased use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women].
  • About 39,840 women in the U.S. were expected to die in 2010 from breast cancer.
  • For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.

So what are you waiting for? Hit the gym or the treadmill! Spring is coming, so take a walk or a run if weather is nice. Decrease your breast cancer risks today!

For more health stories:

Great News in Breast Cancer Research

Dr. Alan Altman on Safe Estrogen Treatments (Video)

5 Signs of a Stroke That Can Save Your Life

Go Red for Women 2011! How You Can Fight Heart Disease

The Best Foods For Your Heart

Is Apple’s Steve Jobs Being Treated for Cancer Again?

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