Health

Overweight middle-aged women who lose weight are less likely to get breast cancer

Overweight middle-aged women who lose weight are less likely to develop breast cancer, even if they regain some weight.

A new study by scientists at the American Cancer Society and Harvard found when women lose at least 20 pounds they are 26% less at risk of suffering from the deadly disease.

Overweight women in their 50’s who lose weight are less likely to develop breast cancer

Around 180,000 women in their fifties took part in the study for a decade, their weight was regularly recorded.

Experts discovered it’s never to late to prevent breast cancer and that many lives could be saved if women lost a few pounds.

“These findings may be a strong motivator for the two-thirds of American women who are overweight to lose some of that weight,” says lead researcher Dr Lauren Teras.

“Even if you gain weight after age 50, it is not too late to lower your risk of breast cancer.

“Our results suggest even a modest amount of sustained weight loss is associated with lower breast cancer risk for women over 50.”

Once a woman has gone through menopause, her oestrogen levels begin to drop. However, fat cells will still produce this hormone and that could cause tumours to grow.

The paper concluded: “These results suggest that gaining weight, and then losing it, confers the same breast cancer risk as keeping a stable body weight.

“In other words, it is not too late to lower your risk of breast cancer if you have gained weight after age 50.”

Check your breast health

Being aware of changes in your breasts and understanding the signs and symptoms of breast cancer could help save your life.

Read more on how breast cancer cases have changed.

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