The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has reported encouraging news for women. A direct link has been found between losing even a moderate amount of weight and greatly lowering a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer.
This especially applies to women in the post-menopausal age category.
Research has proven that women past menopause who participate in a healthy diet and exercise to lose weight effectively decrease the hormones in their bodies directly linked to the development of breast cancer. Reducing the estrogen hormone in the body can reduce the risk of breast cancer in women by as much as 50 percent.
Weight gain during the post-menopausal years of a woman’s life is considered one of the main causes of breast cancer development. The good news is that the weight loss doesn’t have to be a dramatic amount such as 50 or 100 pounds.
Dr. Anne McTiernan, director of the Prevention Center at Fred Hutchinson in Seattle, Wash., and author of the study, said even losing just 10 percent of a woman’s weight helps prevent breast cancer.
“Twenty-five to 50 percent breast cancer reduction is estimated based on how much we know estrogen can affect breast cancer risk,” she said. “There were nine studies who had been done that showed women with the highest estrogen / testosterone levels had at least a two times increased risk of breast cancer. We estimated that we could see that reduction based on these studies.”
Importantly, the study found that even modest weight loss can lower breast cancer risk.
“One main point is that women don’t have to be like the ‘Biggest Loser,'” McTiernan said. “A lot of people are thinking for general health benefits that they have to lose 50 pounds if they are 200 pounds. That’s not what we are seeing.
“Having a first goal of 10 percent of weight lost can have major health effects; it’s not as difficult as people are thinking it is.”