In a new study, researchers found women who lost weight had a lower risk of developing invasive breast cancer than those who maintained or gained weight.
It suggests that weight loss may help lower postmenopausal women’s breast cancer risk.
Although obesity has been strongly related to breast cancer risk, studies examining whether weight loss might reduce postmenopausal women’s risk have provided mixed results.
To examine the issue, researchers from the City of Hope National Medical Center analyzed information on 61,335 women who had no prior breast cancer and had normal mammogram results.
The women’s body weight, height, and body mass index were assessed at the start of the study and again 3 years later.
During an average follow-up of 11.4 years, there were 3,061 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed.
Women with weight loss 5% had a 12% lower breast cancer risk compared with stable weight women, with no interaction by body mass index.
Weight gain of 5% was not associated with risk of breast cancer overall but was associated with a 54% higher incidence of triple negative breast cancer.
“Our study indicates that moderate, relatively short-term weight reduction was associated with a statistically significant reduction in breast cancer risk for postmenopausal women,” said lead author Dr. Chlebowski.
“These are observational results, but they are also supported by randomized clinical trial evidence from the Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial.
Adopting a low-fat dietary pattern was linked to a similar magnitude of weight loss resulted in a significant improvement in breast cancer overall survival.
These findings, taken together, provide strong correlative evidence that a modest weight loss program can impact breast cancer.”
The finding is published in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.
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