A recent study suggests that weight loss helps to lowerthe
risks of breast cancer in overweight menopausal women.
Losing weight, particularly through exercise and diet,
helpsoverweight women to bring down the levels of certain hormones found in
theirblood that are capable of increasing their breast cancer risks.
In the newstudy,
researchers attempted to understand how the potentially dangerous levels of
body hormones could be affected byweight loss achieved through exercise and
439 overweight to
obesemenopausal women, between the ages of 50 and 75 (average age 58) formed
the subjectsof the study. The investigators randomly assigned the participants
to one ofthe four groups.
One group did aerobic
exercise for 45 minutes every day, anothergroup followed a low calorie diet
that included fruits, vegetables and highfiber food, the third group exercised
(mostly walked) and also followed thediet and the fourth group did neither. The
last group was offered fourweight-loss classes and eight weeks of physical
exercise training, once thestudy was completed.
Hormone levels were
directlyused to measure breast cancer risks. The experts noted that the amount
ofweight lost directly impacted the change in hormone levels.
After one year, dieters on an average lost 10.8% of their
bodyweight and those who exercised along with a diet lost about 11.9%. While
those who only exercised and those inthe control group gained weight.
The researchers noted
anincrease of 25.8% in sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which
protectsagainst breast cancer by controlling the levels of circulating
estrogen, inwomen who were on a diet and exercised while the elevation in SHBG
levels was22.4% in those who were on diet without exercise. There was also a
reduction infasting insulin levels and inflammation measurements in the
diet-and-exercisegroup. In other groups, the changes were much smaller.
It hasbeen observed
that the link betweenweight loss and the reduction in breast cancer risk applies
only to postmenopausal women. During menopause, the ovaries cease to function
and thefat tissues begin to behave like an endocrine organ and begin to
Women who are obese
are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer, and, estrogen hasbeen
identified as the culprit in several types of common breast cancers.Losing as
little as 5% of one's body weight can reduce risks by 22%. Weight loss along
with regular exercise can greatly help to minimize breast cancer risks.
The study does not conclude that weight loss lowers the risk
of breast cancer but it certainly indicates that weight loss reduces the levels
ofcirculating estrogens, which are capable of increasing breast cancer risks
Study co-author Dr.
Anne McTiernan, director of thePrevention
Center at the Fred Hutchinson
"Thefindings don't prove that losing weight this way will prevent breast
cancer.Weight loss represents an additional option for long-term breast cancer
riskreduction without significant or bothersome side effects."
Breast cancer risk factors include obesity, alcohol
consumption,not breast feeding babies and hormone-replacement therapy. Obesity
is a riskfactor that women can do something about.
It is never too late to change your lifestyle, especially if
thechanges are lifesaving!
Journal of ClinicalOncology, May 21:2012