Study Finds Losing Weight After 50
May Lower Breast Cancer Risk
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[October 12, 2021]
Women who lose weight after age 50 and keep it
off have a lower risk of breast cancer than women whose weight stays
the same, according to a study from researchers at the American
Cancer Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and
others. Being overweight is a known risk for breast cancer after
menopause, but this is the first large study to show that losing
weight can reduce this risk. The findings did not include women
using post-menopausal hormone therapy.
The study was published December 17, 2019 in the
Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
More than 2 of out of 3 women in the US is overweight or obese. The
findings show it’s never too late to benefit from losing weight, and
that goes for women who’ve gained weight even after age 50. “Our
results suggest that even a modest amount of sustained weight loss
is associated with lower breast cancer risk for women over 50,” said
Lauren Teras, PhD, lead author of the study.
Researchers looked at 180,885 women from 10 studies in the Pooling
Project of Prospective Studies of Diet and Cancer. They recorded the
women’s weights 3 times over about 10 years: when they enrolled,
about 5 years later, and about 5 years after that. Weight changes of
2 kilograms or less (about 4.4 lbs) were counted as stable.
They found the more weight women lost, the lower their risk of
breast cancer. Losing even a small amount of weight lowered risk.
Women who lost 2 to 4.5 kg (about 4.4 to 10 lbs.) had a 13% lower
risk than women with stable weight.
Women who lost 4.5 to 9 kg (10- 20 lbs.) had a 16% lower risk.
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Women who lost 9 kg or more (20+ lbs.) had a 26%
Women who lost 9 kg or more and gained some (but not
all) of the weight back had a lower risk of breast cancer compared
with those whose weight was stable.
Take control of your weight
Although the findings did not include women using post-menopausal
hormone therapy and the results were seen more in women who were
overweight or obese, Teras said getting to a healthy body weight has
many health benefits and is a good goal for everyone.
Getting to a healthy weight and staying there is not easy for most
people. Losing even a small amount of weight – for example, half a
pound a week – is a good place to start.
Read tips for making smart choices that can help you achieve a
weight that’s right for you.
[American Cancer Society]