Breast Cancer Risk is Lower in Obese Young Women

What we all know is that obesity is one of the main risk factors for a number of cancers. Obesity has long been “crowned” as a trigger for breast cancer risk in menopausal women. Even so, a recent international study revealed that the risk of breast cancer actually decreased in obese young women. Why is that?

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Women with menopausal age who are obese are more susceptible to breast cancer 

Excessive fat accumulation in the body due to obesity, especially abdominal fat, will force the body to produce estrogen outside normal limits. Excessive levels of estrogen hormone have in fact long been linked to triggering breast cancer. In addition, extra fat cells can trigger long-term inflammation in the body. 

However, this risk is reported to be higher in obese women who are at menopause. During menopause itself, without any risk factors for obesity, the body will naturally produce more estrogenn. 

That's why overweight and obese women (BMI higher than 25) have a higher risk of breast cancer after menopause than women who have the healthy weight. Being overweight can also increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence in cancer survivors. Chronic inflammation has been associated with a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence. 

Then, why does obesity actually reduce the risk of breast cancer in young women?

Inversely proportional to what we know so far, the latest research collaboration between The Perimenopausal Breast Cancer Collaborative Group and International Cancer Research actually found that obesity reduces the risk of breast cancer in women who are just going to menopause (perimenopause). The study was published in the journal JAMA Oncology after observing the risk of breast cancer in more than 700 thousand women aged less than 55 years. 

Researchers report that women with a high BMI score (indicating overweight or even obesity) but not entering menopause actually have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. They also found that breast cancer risk in young women with normal weight remained lower than menopausal women.

“We see that when the BMI score rises, the risk of cancer decreases,” said Nichols, a teaching assistant at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health involved in the study. 

Every 5-unit increase in scores on female BMIs aged 18-24 years was reported to have decreased breast cancer risk by 23 percent. With an increase in the same BMI score, in the age range of 25-34 years the risk was reduced by 15% and in the age range of 35 to 44 years, the risk of breast cancer decreased by 13 percent lower. The risk of breast cancer decreased by 12% lower in the group of women aged 45-54 years who also experienced an increase in BMI scores in the range of 5 units. 

However, it is not known exactly which BMI score limits show the risk of breast cancer starting to increase. 

Not that you can deliberately fatten your body to excess, you know! 

They suspect that the mechanism of breast cancer in younger women is slightly different from the general theory, which has been explained in the articles above. 

Researchers believe there are many factors that influence the relationship between high BMI scores and a low risk of cancer in young women. One of them is the difference in the number of hormones, such asestrogenn, growth hormone, and breast density. But the researchers strongly emphasized that the results of this study were not published as a support for women to deliberately overload their weight to avoid cancer. The potential for long-term health problems from obesity remains more dangerous than its benefits, which cannot even be ascertained.

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