Obesity Leads to Younger Breast Cancer

Breast cancer seen in younger obese women who begin menstruating before age of 10

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A woman's weight influences her susceptibility to a number of diseases, including breast cancer. New research shows that body type and the age a woman starts her period are particularly important risk factors for younger women being diagnosed with the disease.

New research has shown that obese women are at greater risk of developing breast cancer at younger ages than ideal weight women. Morbid obesity and age of first menstruation significantly increase those odds.

"Cut out sugar, your BMI will thank you."

Researchers at the University of Granada studied the records of 524 women who had been diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer between January 2009 to September 2010 in Granada, Spain.

The weight of these patients was assessed, along with their age at diagnosis. None of the participants had a family history of breast cancer.

Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30, and morbid obesity is having a BMI of more than 40 or weighing 100+ pounds over one's ideal weight.

Investigators found that women who were obese were diagnosed with breast cancer at younger ages, particularly those who were defined as morbidly obese. Authors note that these findings contradict earlier studies which have shown a link between higher BMI and lower breast cancer risks.

The study also showed that women who began menstruating before the age of 10 were at higher risk of developing breast cancer, particularly those women who were morbidly obese at the time of diagnosis.

Authors of this study conclude that while genetics and family history play a critical role in a woman's overall risk of breast cancer, her weight and age of first menses are the most relevant risk factors for developing the disease at an earlier age.

This study was published in the Spanish journal Nutrición Hospitalaria.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 19, 2011
Last Updated:
October 20, 2011