What is the effect of obesity on a women's risk for breast cancer?

Updated: Dec 26, 2019
  • Author: Graham A Colditz, MD, DrPH; Chief Editor: Chandandeep Nagi, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Postmenopausal adiposity is an established risk for postmenopausal breast cancer. [69, 70]  Components of energy balance have been evaluated in numerous studies indicting that highest energy intake, highest body mass index (BMI), and lowest energy expenditure may combine to more than double the risk of breast cancer. In the combined analysis of prospective studies of endogenous hormone levels, evaluation of BMI showed that a substantial component of this relation with postmenopausal breast cancer is mediated through hormone levels. [71]

Results from a study by Seo et al suggested that obesity may modify the structure of adipose tissue in the breast which promotes breast tumorigenesis by altering mammary extracellular matrix (ECM) mechanics. [72, 73]


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