How Your Weight May Affect Your Risk of Breast Cancer By Dana Humes-Goff

We now have substantial evidence that overweight/obesity is strongly associated with breast cancer, and with poorer prognosis and increased mortality, especially in postmenopausal women. In fact, women over 50 who are obese have a 20% to 40% increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to normal-weight women.

A quick calculation based on U.S. Census Bureau data indicates that there are about 45 million women in the United States between the ages of 45 and 75 years, and it is estimated that 40% of them are obese. These findings are a strong motivator for two-thirds of American women to consider changing their lifestyles to reduce their risks.

It’s never too late to embrace a healthy lifestyle change. A recently published, large prospective study evaluated 180,000 women, 50 years of age and older, over the course of 18 years and found that even a modest weight loss was found to reduce breast cancer risk. An over-accumulation of fat cells raises breast cancer risk by increasing the body’s estrogen levels. Women who are overweight also tend to have higher levels of insulin, and higher insulin levels have also been linked to breast cancer.

A healthy diet and a consistent exercise routine can help reduce breast cancer risk by 20-80%. That’s huge! And, losing even a small amount of weight can make a difference in your risk—not to mention your overall health. Without a doubt, even losing a small amount can be a big challenge. That’s why the Couri Center has an integrated health care program to address this critical issue. Our providers and our registered dietitian offer a team approach to a healthy diet, nutrition, food sensitivities, and exercise; thus, combining conventional medicine with functional medicine to provide care specific to your individual needs.

To get started, call 309-692-6838 or email and let us assist you in reducing your risk.