Junk Food Loving Women, Beware: Study Links Weight Gain to Post-Menopausal Breast Cancer Risk

November 2, 2007 by  
Filed under CANCER

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After finishing off an entire bag of tortilla chips and nacho cheese, I sat down at my computer to read through this week’s latest news in cancer. Coincidentally, the first article that I came across was about a recent study correlating weight gain and the increased risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer.


In a report published in the October 22 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers have found a positive link between increased weight and the development of breast cancer in women who did not take hormone therapy after menopause. The conclusions were drawn from a pool of 99,039 postmenopausal women who participated in a joint study between the National Institutes of Health and the American Association of Retired Persons.  Participants in the study reported their current body weight and age, as well as their weights at their ages of 18, 35, and 50. All of this data was then used to make comparisons between age, weight, and the development of breast cancer.

At this point, I took away from this article two things:

1. A sense of pity for the many poor graduate students who probably were stuck analyzing that much data, and

2. The recognition that, I used to fuel my own late-night graduate student data analysis binges with pizza and chili cheese fries, this news does not bode well for my current lifestyle.

There was an interesting twist, however: Women who maintained a normal weight at the age of 18, but then gained weight later in life only had 1.4 times the risk of developing breast cancer in comparison to women who maintained a stable weight all their lives. In addition, overweight women who lost weight ended up lowered their risk of developing breast cancer.

Yet another reason why it’s probably a good idea for me to lose weight! In retrospect, perhaps I should have only eaten half the bag of chips. At least most of the cheese ended up on my shirt and in my hair, thanks to some help from my overactive pets! I wonder if they make nacho cheese flavored tofu. . .

Image courtesy of NYC Metroblogs.

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3 Responses to “Junk Food Loving Women, Beware: Study Links Weight Gain to Post-Menopausal Breast Cancer Risk”
  1. Peg Gatesman says:

    You rock! Love, Mom

  2. Hi Maddy!

    If you’re talking about breast cancer, that’s a good question. The incidence of male breast cancer is pretty rare, but some researchers hypothesize that it could be linked to an imbalance of sex horomones in the body. There are strong links between estrogen and adipose tissue, so perhaps this horomone imbalance in men could be further set off by high fat deposits in the body. I’ll definitely research that more for a future post!

    However, if you’re just talking about the general sense of unfairness that surronds being a post-menopausal woman (first hot flashes and now I you’re telling me that I can’t even solace myself in overindulging in food??), you’re probably spot on 🙂 What do you think?

  3. maddy says:

    So a 300 pound man can eat his fill of chips while the model thin 110 pound woman may have a teeny salad?

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