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D.iet & H.ealth : B.ody W.eight Last Updated: Nov 12th, 2006 - 20:38:00


Excess abdominal fat may lower breast cancer survival
By Diana Simms
Oct 22, 2006, 12:53

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Oct 22 (hicenter.com) - Women with excess abdominal fat may face a higher risk of dying from breast cancer, according to a new study published in the Oct. 15 issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.

For the study, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examined data on 1,254 women ages 20 to 54, who were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer between 1990 and 1992, to determine how abdominal fat may affect the chance of survival from breast cancer in women.

The researchers found that women whose waist-to-hip ratios were greater than 0.80 were 52 percent more likely to die from the cancer than women with normal ratios. A high waist to hip ratio indicates a high amount of abdominal fat.

Additionally, they said that obesity seems to have an overall adverse effect on surviving cancer. Women with a body mass index greater than 30, indicative of obesity, had a 48 percent greater chance of dying from breast cancer than women with a normal BMI that is below 30.

For those who had both a high BMI (higher than 25) and a high waist to hip ratio (higher than 0.8), their risk of dying from breast cancer increased by 92 percent, according to the study.

Lead author Page Abrahamson, a postdoctoral researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, said that having extra abdominal fat was likely to affect the prognosis in breast cancer in the same way as it influences the development of the cancer. The excessive fat can lead to increased exposure to estrogen and insulin resistance.

"Maintaining a healthy weight throughout adult life is something women can do to improve their survival," said Dr. Marilie Gammon, coauthor of the study and a professor of epidemiology in UNC's School of Public Health, who is also affiliated with UNC's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.




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