Your Weight for Breast Health
cancer-fighting benefits of exercise are linked with its effect on overall
A Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 30 translates to being more than
30 pounds overweight.
increase the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
A BMI of
less than 20 means that you have 33% less risk of becoming a breast cancer
victim than a woman with a BMI of 30 or more if you are postmenopausal.
to the 1998 Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health:
men are 33% more likely to die of cancer than individuals of healthy
women are 55% more likely to die of cancer.
Before menopause, a hormone called estradiol is produced by the ovaries.
Estradiol is the most potent form of human estrogen. After menopause the
ovaries stop making this hormone and estradiol is formed within the body's
fatty tissues. In obese postmenopausal women fat deposits produce high
amounts of estradiol, which some studies link to increased risk of breast
after menopause is associated with increased breast cancer risk. A regular
exercise program helps reduces fat deposits. Women with less body fat
can better keep the estradiol in their systems in line.
The connection between BMI and premenopausal breast cancer is not as clear.
Most studies have not found a relationship between obesity and breast
cancer in premenopausal women. Some have reported an inverse relationship.
women tend to have the greatest risk.
So being a bit overweight won't increase your risk of breast cancer if
you are premenopausal. The problem is that women who are heavy and premenopausal
tend to increase their weight and BMI as they go through menopause. This
puts them in the high risk group of obese, postmenopausal women.
Studies with the nutritional supplement Coenzyme Q10 (COQ10) have reported
that the level of this enzyme in obese people is low. Taking this supplement
has been linked to reduction in weight caused by increasing metabolism
and the body's ability to burn fat.
A 1994 study
provides some evidence that COQ10
may also be effective in the fight against breast cancer. Thirty two breast
cancer patients were treated with megadoses of vitamins, minerals, essential
fatty acids and coenzyme Q10 (90 mg/day) as a supplement to conventional
therapy and showed partial or complete remission of the cancer within
This is not
an endorsement of the supplement, but it is interesting that an enzyme
that has been linked to increased metabolism and decreased body weight
is also linked to possible remission in breast cancer.
line is that no matter what your age or menopause status, being overweight
is not good news for general health or breast cancer prevention. A healthy
diet and exercise is as important to staying breast healthy as a yearly
updated March 31, 2006
see -> Breast
Cancer & Diet
Elsewhere on the Web:
a Low-fat Diet Reduce Breast Cancer Risk?
and Diet Linked To Poorer Breast Cancer Prognosis
Cancer & Diet