DEC 23, 2019 1:56 PM PST

Sustained weight loss over 50 reduces risk of breast cancer

Research published recently in the Journal of National Cancer Institute suggests a new form of cancer prevention: losing weight and keeping it off. This study was specifically attuned to women who lost weight over the age of 50 and were successful in maintaining weight loss, as well as to women not using postmenopausal hormones.

This study offers hope for the thousands of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Although improved treatment options have increased the survival rate for breast cancer, with only 1 in 38 women dying from the disease, the American Cancer Society still estimates that 268,600 women will receive a diagnosis of invasive breast cancer in 2019 alone and a further 62,930 people will receive a diagnosis of noninvasive cancer.

Previous studies have shown that high body mass index is a risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer, however, until now scientists and medical professionals have not been clear on the impact that losing weight can have on a woman’s risk for developing breast cancer.

This most recent study analyzed data from the Pooling Project of Prospective Studies of Diet and Cancer (DCPP) to look at over 180,000 women aged 50 and older from ten studies – one of the largest data sets to consider weight loss as a specific breast cancer factor. Conducted by researchers at the American Cancer Society and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the study monitored the weight of the participants over 10 years (at study enrollment; after about five years; then again about four years later) to determine the potential link between sustained weight loss and risk of breast cancer.

They found that compared to women who maintained a stable weight, women who lost weight and kept it off showed a reduced risk of breast cancer. And to make the case even stronger for that New Year’s gym membership, the more weight loss, the lower the risk became. According to Science Daily, “Women who lost 2 to 4.5 kg (about 4.4 to 10 lbs.) had a 13% lower risk than women with stable weight. Women who lost 4.5 to 9 kg (10- 20 lbs.) had a 16% lower risk. Women who lost 9 kg or more (20+ lbs.) had a 26% lower risk.”

Losing weight after 50 and keeping it off can reduce risk of breast cancer, according to new research. Photo: Pixabay

"Our results suggest that even a modest amount of sustained weight loss is associated with lower breast cancer risk for women over 50," said lead author Lauren Teras, PhD. "These findings may be a strong motivator for the two-thirds of American women who are overweight to lose some of that weight. Even if you gain weight after age 50, it is not too late to lower your risk of breast cancer."

Sources: Science Daily, JNCIMedical News Today

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
MAR 23, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
MAR 23, 2020
Diagnosing Cancer by Looking for Microbial DNA in the Blood
Liquid biopsies aim to diagnose a disease with only a bit of biological fluid, usually blood.
MAR 23, 2020
Cancer
MAR 23, 2020
An Alternative Use for Common Kidney Cancer Drug to Fight Against Epithelial Ovarian Cancer
Axitinib is a small molecule drug that inhibits VEGFR tyrosine kinases 1, 2, and 3. Shown previously to potentially prev ...
APR 02, 2020
Immunology
APR 02, 2020
Transforming T Cells into Powerful Memory Cells That Target Cancer
New cancer treatments are now based on harnessing the power of the human body’s own immune cells to get the job do ...
APR 13, 2020
Cancer
APR 13, 2020
The Unexpected Role of Mono in Cancer Progression
In the past, the go-to drugs have always been small molecules. These small molecules would interact with the cell and ac ...
MAY 07, 2020
Cancer
MAY 07, 2020
Yet Another Cancer Linked Tyrosine Kinase
In a cell, there are tens of thousands of individual components. Each component has a specific activity or role that the ...
MAY 21, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAY 21, 2020
Molecular 'Switch' Makes Autoimmune Drugs Fight Cancer
Researchers from the Antibody and Vaccine Group at the University of Southampton, England, have identified a way to repu ...
Loading Comments...