Two new studies have indicated that obesity increases the risk for breast cancer in post-menopausal Hispanic and African-American women. Both studies had a combined total of 18,200 participants. The first study of 3,200 Hispanic women found that the women in the study who gained weight throughout adulthood, especially after menopause had a higher risk for estrogen receptor-negative and progesterone receptor-postive breast tumors. The second study analyzed 15,000 African-American and found that obese or overweight post-menopausal African-American women had 31% increase risk of estrogen receptor positive tumors.
But what is the link between obesity, menopause and breast cancer? Estrogen promotes the growth of breast cancers that are hormone receptor-positive. Estrogen levels are higher in the body when there is more fat tissue. The main reason that menopausal women or post-menopausal around 50 or 60 are at higher risk for breast cancer is because during menopause, the ovaries stop producing hormones and fat tissues becomes the source of estrogen production in the body. Higher estrogen levels means a higher risk of breast cancer. Obese women also have an increased risk for breast cancer due to inflammation produced by fat cells as well.
According to the CDC, more than 2/3 of U.S. women are considered obese. Out of the different demographics based on race and ethnicity, African-American and Hispanics have the highest rates of obesity. African-American women have a rate of 47.8 percent and hispanic women are at a 42.5 percent. Of course there are genetic risks influence one’s chances of getting breast cancer but obesity is a risk that could be avoided with a balanced lifestyle.
Women can avoid this extra risk of breast cancer by living a healthy lifestyle, exercising and controlling their weight fluctuation. How many more studies are we going to have to see and read about that shows us that American’s obesity and overweight is a problem that is causing additional health issues to arise? Get up and get moving! Be healthy and live healthy!
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