Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death among American women. 

Fox news reports on breast cancer in American women.

A new study shows that obesity is a major driving force contributing to whether a woman develops breast cancer.

The study shows that obesity particularly affects breast cancer rates in African and Hispanic women. The first study is from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California. It scrutinized 3,200 Hispanic women and found that those who gain weight through adulthood (particularly after menopause) had a greater risk for estrogen receptor-negative and progesterone receptor-positive breast cancer tumors.

How was the second study conducted?

It came from Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. This study analyzed 15,000 African American woman and found that overweight or obese, postmenopausal African American women had an over thirty percent increased danger of estrogen receptor positive tumors.

Are obesity, breast cancer and menopause related?

Experts say they are indeed related. The hormone estrogen advances the growth of breast cancers that are hormone receptor-positive. Estrogen levels are greater when there is more fat tissue in the body.

Obese women over the age of eighteen, and particularly between the ages of 50 and 60 – the age menopause occurs – are at a greater risk for breast cancer. This is because after menopause, the ovaries stop generating hormones.

At that point, fat cells become the source of most of the estrogen production in the body. An increase in fat tissue means greater estrogen levels, and higher estrogen levels mean a higher risk of breast cancer. Obese women also have a higher risk for breast cancer due to inflammation generated by fat cells.

How large of an issue is obesity in U.S. women?

The CDC said more than two-thirds of American women are considered to be obese. “African American women have the highest rates of obesity at 47.8 percent, followed by Hispanic women at 42.5 percent. This new research is important, not only for Hispanic and African American women, but for all women,” according to Fox.

Experts say that genetics and family history are huge risk factors for generating breast cancer. Now experts have evidence that obesity is another large risk factor.

The present danger of breast cancer worldwide is about one million per year and is steadily increasing. The rate of obesity has more than doubled since the 1960s.

Now that new evidence is advancing the connection between the two, women can take advantage by making an effort to lose weight and decrease their risk factors. Overweight people are a whopping 80 percent more likely to wind up with breast cancer. 

How can a woman figure out whether she is obese?

A woman’s body fat can be deciphered by their total body mass index (BMI), which is based on a person’s height and weight.

“Being ‘overweight’ is defined as a BMI between 25 and 29.9 while being ‘obese’ is defined as a BMI of 30 or greater. Maintaining a BMI below 25 is essential to preventing future illnesses and diseases, which can be irreversible and lead to death,” according to Fox.

What are some good ways to lose weight?

Women should drink lots of water to better digest their food, focus on what they’re eating – 80 percent of weight loss is based on diet (Only 20 percent is related to exercise), and exercise first thing in the morning (this will adjust your levels of leptin, a hormone responsible for the sensation of hunger).

Gerry Oginski
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