Breast Cancer: A Weighty Problem

Find out how fat can become a fatal carcinogen in women.

By Cynthia Dermody from Reader's Digest | October 2006

Need a little motivation to drop those extra pounds? Being overweight can raise the risk of breast cancer. And a study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University shows that losing weight, especially after menopause, may cut that risk.

Researchers tracked 87,143 women. Those who gained 22 pounds or more after menopause were 18% more likely to develop breast cancer than those who gained little or no weight. But those who lost 22 pounds or more after menopause lowered their cancer risk by 40%; those who were able to keep the weight off for at least four years cut it 60%. How can fat become fatal? It produces estrogen, which can fuel breast cancer growth.

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