Diabetes, overweight linked to higher breast cancer risk

Being diabetic and overweight increases the risk of breast cancer particularly in postmenopausal women, according to report on a study in foodconsumer.org.

Researchers from Pereira Rosswell Women's Hospital in Uruguay analyzed 367 new breast cancer cases and 545 control subjects with normal mammograms over a five-year period. The subjects were aged 23 to 69.

Women who had a history of diabetes were 64 percent more likely to develop breast cancer, according to the research. Postmenopausal women were 92 percent more likely than the control subjects to develop breast cancer.

They also found that postmenopausal women who had diabetes, overweight and high blood cholesterol levels were more than nine times more likely to have breast cancer compared to subjects without these conditions.

Likewise, the researchers found that women who had a high fat-to-muscle ratio, were overweight and had diabetes were eight times as likely to develop breast cancer than women without these conditions.

The study was published in the April 2012 issue of Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention.

Risk factors
Being overweight or obese is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer, especially for women after menopause, according to the American Cancer Society. The risk seems to be higher if the extra fat is around the waist. Lack of exercise is also shown to increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

Other risk factors for increasing the chances of developing breast cancer include advanced age,
being younger than average when you first had your menstrual period, starting menopause at a later age than average, being 30 or older at the birth of your first child, never giving birth, not breastfeeding, family history, long-term use of hormone replacement therapy, and having more than one alcoholic drink a day.

Physical inactivity and being overweight or obese are also risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.
Other risk factors include advanced age over 45, family history, low HDL, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, certain racial and ethnic groups, and a personal history of having gestational diabetes.

Sources: foodconsumer.org, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association

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