March 31, 2011

Obesity linked to deadly breast cancer

Filed under: health — Tags: , — @ 10:21 pm

obese womanBreast cancer is the second leading causes of death among U.S women. Approximately 1.3 million cases of breast cancer are reported worldwide with 38% of these cases turning deadly. For years scientists have conducted studies to find out possible causes of breast cancer that could be controlled, and recently, they did just that.

Although scientist have already determined that obesity is linked to breast cancer, a recent study conducted by Fred Hutchinson, from the Cancer Research center, has shown that women who are obese increase their risk of triple negative breast cancer by 35%. This type of breast cancer is a more aggressive form of cancer which affects 10%-20% of cases and is more deadly. Triple negative cancer is deadly due to the lack of progesterone or HER2 receptors which are required for most breast cancer drugs to work. Obese women increase their estrogen levels, which build up in fat and promote tumors.

The study was conducted with 155,723 women; all with whom had a different Body Mass Index (BMI). The research showed that 35% of women with higher BMI had higher risk of triple negative breast cancer and 39% had a higher risk of estrogen-fed breast cancer. Amanda Phipps, a researcher with Fred Hutchinson Cancer research stated, “The fact that we found an association with triple negative breast cancer is unique because, biologically, this subtype is very different from other breast cancers.”

These results are important to researchers because obesity is a factor of breast cancer that can be modified whereas the other factors are hereditary or cannot be modified. The study also showed that women who reported that they had high rates of physical activities, showed a 23% lower risk of developing triple negative breast cancer.