Obesity and Breast Cancer Risk

Research has been linking obesity to incidence of breast cancer, saying that severely overweight women are more likely to develop breast cancer because their bodies produce more estrogen than usual. This also puts to risk obese menopausal women because their estrogen levels are higher during this period.
Although it is a natural hormone in our body, estrogen has been known to stimulate certain types of breast cancer tumors.

The study shows that the average concentration of estrogen among obese women is between 50% to 219% higher than in thin women, while the risk of breast cancer is increased by about 18% with each five-point increase in body mass index.

The prevalence of obesity in the United States has also triggered an increase of breast cancer diagnosis. Survey shows that from 29% in 1988 to 1994, 40% of American women between 60 to 79 years old were obese in 1999 to 2000.

However, postmenopausal women whose specific types of estrogen were adjusted have a decreased risk from breast cancer from 19% to just 2%. This shows that obesity is the only modifiable factor for breast cancer while several other known risk factors are either genetic or non-modifiable.

These risk factors include age when menstruation began, number of pregnancies, age at pregnancies, and age at menopause.