How Obesity May Increase Risk Of Breast Cancer? Expert Explains

With a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits, there has been a spike in obesity cases worldwide. As per experts we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic occurring in a society with an increasing incidence of breast cancer. But how can obesity lead to breast cancer? We got in touch with a health expert who explains the correlation between the two. Read on.
How Obesity May Increase Risk Of Breast Cancer? Expert Explains

How Obesity May Increase Risk Of Breast Cancer? Expert Explains (Image Credits: Freepik)

In the past few years, there has been an unprecedented rise in obesity, which is leading to other health problems, including breast cancer. Overweight and obese women have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who maintain a healthy weight, especially after menopause. Being overweight also can increase the risk of breast cancer coming back (recurrence) in women who have had the disease.
But how are both related? Many studies have revealed the correlation between obesity and breast cancer. We got in touch with a health expert who shares how obesity may lead to an increased risk of breast cancer.
How Obesity May Increase The Risk Of Breast Cancer?
Dr Dinesh Singh, Chairman of Radiation Oncology, Andromeda Cancer Hospital, Sonipat explains the intricate relationship between obesity and breast cancer.
1. Hormonal Imbalance
Obesity leads to an imbalance in hormone levels, particularly estrogen. Excess fat tissue can increase estrogen production, which in turn, may promote the growth of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer cells.
2. Inflammation
Chronic inflammation associated with obesity can create an environment conducive to cancer development. Inflamed fat cells produce cytokines, which are signalling molecules that can promote cell growth and proliferation, potentially fostering the growth of cancerous cells.
3. Insulin Resistance
Obesity often accompanies insulin resistance, a condition where cells fail to respond properly to insulin. This can lead to higher levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), both of which have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
4. Fat Distribution
The distribution of fat in the body matters. Central obesity, where fat accumulates around the abdomen, is particularly associated with an increased risk of breast cancer compared to fat accumulation in other areas of the body.
5. Challenges in Diagnosis and Treatment
Obesity can pose challenges in both diagnosing and treating breast cancer. Excess fat tissue can make it harder to detect tumours during screening mammograms. Additionally, obese individuals may receive suboptimal doses of chemotherapy or experience increased surgical complications due to their weight.
6. Lifestyle Factors
Lastly, lifestyle factors commonly associated with obesity, such as poor diet and lack of physical activity, can independently contribute to an increased risk of breast cancer. Making healthy lifestyle choices to maintain a healthy weight can therefore play a significant role in reducing the risk of breast cancer.
“By addressing obesity and its associated factors, we can take significant steps towards reducing the burden of breast cancers,” he said.
End of Article
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