Does weight loss reduce breast cancer risk?


Obesity affects nearly every organ system. Weight loss has been shown to reduce diabetes and hypertension. For example, most of our insulin-requiring patients with type 2 diabetes successfully discontinue insulin within two months of initiating treatment, and their HgA1c levels drop markedly. Blood pressure medicines reduce by ½ within 12 weeks.

Obesity increases the risk of several cancers, including

  • Breast
  • Colorectal
  • Ovarian
  • Esophageal
  • Gastric
  • Endometrial
  • Pancreatic
  • Renal
  • Liver
  • Gall Bladder
  • Thyroid
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Meningioma

Previous studies have shown that at little as 20 lbs. of weight gain in women after age 18 doubles the risk of breast cancer. Until now, it has not been known if weight loss can reduce malignancy.

This study evaluated the association between weight loss and breast cancer risk in 61,335 postmenopausal women. At an average follow-up of 11.4 years, weight loss of at least 5% body weight had 12% lower risk of breast cancer. While women with weight gain had no change in breast cancer risk, those diagnosed with breast cancers have a 50 % higher rate of triple negative cancers. The authors concluded that weight loss reduces breast cancer risk. We hope future studies will evaluate the risk reduction of other cancers from weight loss.

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