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Overweight, Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Linked to Breast Cancer Risk

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By David Liu, PHD

Thursday Dec 29, 2011 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study in the May 31, 2011 issue of The Oncologist suggests overweight, obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus may increase risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

Carlo La Vecchia, M.D., of Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche in Milano, Italy and colleagues conducted the study and found obese women were twice as likely as lean women to develop breast cancer.  Being overweight was also associated with 50 percent elevated risk.

The researchers also found postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes mellitus were 15 to 20 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.  Overweight and obesity were not associated with pre-menopausal breast cancer, though.

Studies have shown that overweight or obese women were at high risk for type 2 diabetes.  The current study shows overweight and obesity have a much greater impact on the risk of breast cancer.

Breast cancer is diagnosed in about 200,000 women in the United States each year and the disease and complications kill about 50,000 annually in the country.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is believed to affect more than 20 million Americans.  

In the U.S., one-third of U.S. adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Obesity is related health conditions such as depression, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes mellitus and certain types of cancer such as breast cancer.  People with morbid obesity may seek help from obesity rehab centers or ask doctors for bariatric obesity surgery. 

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