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Body Fat Linked to Risk of Death in Breast Cancer

New research suggests that the amount of body fat (either very high or low) is associated with low survival rates from breast cancer. Research scientist Marilyn Kwan in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research reports that breast cancer patients who are underweight, extremely obese or have high levels of abdominal fat have a greater risk for death than other patients.

The investigators analyzed data from more than 12,000 women in the California Breast Cancer Survivorship Consortium and found that patients who were underweight had a 47% increased of dying compared to patients with normal weight, while extremely obese patients had a 43% higher chance of mortality. Women with the highest level of abdominal fat (measured by the waist-to-hip ratio) had a 30 to 36% higher risk of death.

Further analysis demonstrated however, that ethnicity affected these variables. White non-Latina women who were either underweight or morbidly obese had a greater chance of dying than other racial groups while Asian-American and African-American patients with larger abdominal fat had poorer chances of survival.

Although no cause-and effect relationship was proven between these variables and risk of death, the researchers believe that their findings support the usual recommendation to maintain a healthy body weight to prolong life. However, Kwan notes that the long-term effect of weight on breast cancer survival is not similar for all patients. These preliminary finding are to be presented in a medical meeting at the American Association for Cancer Research, in San Diego.


Body Fat May Affect Death Risk Among Breast Cancer Patients. HealthDay.


Posted in: Breast Cancer, Cancer, News Briefs

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