• 268,600 new breast cancer diagnosis this year
  • 41760 women and 500 men are likely to die
  • Weight loss in the 50s help reduce breast cancer risk

According to recent estimates, about 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer cases will be diagnosed and 41,760 women and 500 men are likely to die from this life-threatening disease.

The nation can see a decline in breast cancer mortality only when there are improvements in treatment and earlier detection alongside effective preventive strategies. Factors including a later stage at diagnosis, higher prevalence of obesity and lesser access to high-quality prevention increase the risks of breast cancer mortality.

A new study has reported that making a certain lifestyle change during middle age can reduce breast cancer risk by up to 26%.

The recommended middle age activity that reduces breast cancer risk: Losing excess weight

The researchers from the American Cancer Society and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have found that women who lost weight after 50 years of age and kept it off had a reduced risk of breast cancer than those who didn’t. Such a prevention strategy was found to be specific to women who didn’t use postmenopausal hormone and the reduction in risk increased with the amount of weight they lost.

More than two in three adult women in the U.S. are either overweight or obese. While the BMI is an established risk factor for breast cancer after menopause, there hasn’t been scientific evidence to find out if that risk can be reversed by losing weight.

The researchers who sought to determine this analyzed more than 180,000 women aged 50 and above from ten different prospective studies. This is the first-ever large study to examine the phenomenon of weight loss impacting breast cancer risk with statistical precision. They assessed their weight thrice in a period of over a decade.

The findings revealed that women who not only lost weight but kept it off at their middle age had a lower breast cancer risk compared to women with stable weight.

Here’s a gist of the findings. Women who lost-

  • 2-4.5 kg had a 13% lower risk of breast cancer
  • 4.5-9 kg had a 16% reduction in breast cancer risk
  • more than 9 kg had a 26% lower risk of breast cancer

"Our results suggest that even a modest amount of sustained weight loss is associated with lower breast cancer risk for women over 50," ScienceDaily quoted the study’s lead author Lauren Teras, Ph.D. "These findings may be a strong motivator for the two-thirds of American women who are overweight to lose some of that weight. Even if you gain weight after age 50, it is not too late to lower your risk of breast cancer."

Breast Cancer Can Be Prevented
A new research has made it possible to detect the breast cancer relapse in women, months before the new tumors start to surface during a scan. Reuters