Study shows higher risk of death for
obese breast cancer patients
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[May 15, 2014]
A new study of 80,000 women with early breast
cancer found that obesity was associated with a 34 percent higher risk
of death for pre-menopausal women whose disease is susceptible to higher
levels of the hormone estrogen.
The study, featured ahead of the annual meeting of
the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago beginning on
May 30, adds to the accumulation of evidence that obesity is a risk
factor for cancer outcomes as well as development of the disease.
"No matter how we look at it, obesity is slated to replace tobacco
as the leading modifiable risk for cancer," Dr Clifford Hudis, ASCO
president and chief of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's
Breast Cancer Medicine Service in New York, told a news conference.
ASCO earlier this week issued new guidelines for doctors and
patients on how to manage obesity-related issues after a cancer
Obesity has been linked with an increased risk for many of the most
common cancers, including breast, colon, and high-grade prostate
cancers. Obesity is also associated with increased levels of
But public awareness about the connection remains low. ASCO cited a
recent survey suggesting that fewer than one in 10 Americans even
realize that obesity is a risk factor for cancer.
The latest study, conducted at Britain's Oxford University, also
found that obesity had little effect in women with hormone-positive
breast cancer once they had passed menopause.
Lead researcher Hongchao Pan said more research was needed to
determine the biological mechanisms behind the findings.
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She noted that, as expected, the study found no link between body
weight and outcomes for patients whose breast cancer was estrogen
receptor negative, meaning the tumors do not rely on the sex hormone
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that
about 35 percent of U.S. adults are obese and around 70 percent are
either obese or overweight.
(Reporting by Deena Beasley in Los Angeles; editing by Matthew
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