Breast Cancer Researchers Should Look Beyond the Scale

postmenopausal woman BMIOh, dear, here we go again. Researchers have set out to prove -- yet again -- that being overweight is a risk factor for disease. This time, they're noting that FYI, if you're post-menopausal and overweight, it could mess with your hormones and lead to breast cancer.

In the Cancer Research UK-funded study, the researchers looked at data from nearly 6,300 post-menopausal women who took part in 13 different studies with the goal of seeing how sex hormone levels related to the risk of developing breast cancer. Long story short, BMI (body mass index) had the strongest influence on sex hormone levels -- estrogen, in particular. Higher estrogen levels are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer, and all of this might explain why they say post-menopausal, obese women have the highest risk of developing breast cancer.

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Although this study only confirms something we have already known, it is important that we dig deeper to understand why and how these links exist between weight, hormones, and breast cancer.

While I agree researchers need to take a deeper look, I'm sort of sick of the same old "obesity leads to disease, so lose weight, fatty!" line. Yes, everyone KNOWS! Or they should, because it's a no-brainer. Also, it's not like most people who are overweight aren't trying to lose weight to be healthier.

And at the same time, there are people who have hormonal issues that are not related to weight and can lead to disease. There are also people who are technically overweight, but still healthy! So maybe it's time to start trying to go beyond the numbers, the BMIs, the scales to see what other genetic, diet, or other more specific lifestyle factors are influencing women's risk.

What do you think about this research?


Image via USACE Europe District/Flickr

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