Excess Body Fat May Increase Older Women's Breast Cancer Risk: Study

Excess fat may increase older women's risk of breast cancer, even if they're not overweight or obese, according to a new study.

It included 3,460 American women, ages 50-79, who had gone through menopause. An 11-pound increase in total body fat was associated with a 35 percent increased risk of ER-positive breast cancer and a 28 percent increased risk of invasive breast cancer.

An 11-pound increase in torso fat was associated with a 56 percent increased risk of ER-positive breast cancer and a 46 percent increased risk of invasive breast cancer, CNN reported.

The study was published Dec. 6 in the journal JAMA Oncology.

"The main takeaway is that having excess body fat, even when you have a normal body mass index, is associated with an increased risk for breast cancer," said study author Dr. Andrew Dannenberg, director of cancer prevention at the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, CNN reported.

The study highlights "the importance of research differentiating the contributions of body size, body composition, and metabolic profiles to breast cancer risk," Dr. Isabel Pimentel, Dr. Ana Elisa Lohmann and Dr. Pamela Goodwin wrote in an accompanying editorial.

They said "these observations suggest that components of metabolic health, rather than the presence of full metabolic syndrome, may contribute to breast cancer risk."

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