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Weight Loss Linked to Lower Breast Cancer Risk for Postmenopausal Women

In a study of postmenopausal women, participants who lost weight had a lower risk of developing invasive breast cancer than those who maintained or gained weight. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings suggest that weight loss may help lower postmenopausal women’s breast cancer risk.

Monday, October 8, 2018 12:01 am EDT
"Weight Loss and Breast Cancer Incidence in Postmenopausal Women."

In a study of postmenopausal women, participants who lost weight had a lower risk of developing invasive breast cancer than those who maintained or gained weight. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings suggest that weight loss may help lower postmenopausal women’s breast cancer risk. 

Although obesity has been strongly related to breast cancer risk, studies examining whether weight loss might reduce postmenopausal women’s risk have provided mixed results. To examine the issue, Rowan Chlebowski, MD, PhD, of the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, and his colleagues analyzed information on 61,335 women participating in the World Health Initiative Observational Study who had no prior breast cancer and had normal mammogram results. The women’s body weight, height, and body mass index were assessed at the start of the study and again 3 years later.

During an average follow-up of 11.4 years, there were 3,061 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed. Women with weight loss ≥5 percent had a 12 percent lower breast cancer risk compared with stable weight women, with no interaction by body mass index. Weight gain of ≥5 percent was not associated with risk of breast cancer overall but was associated with a 54 percent higher incidence of triple negative breast cancer.

“Our study indicates that moderate, relatively short-term weight reduction was associated with a statistically significant reduction in breast cancer risk for postmenopausal women,” said Dr. Chlebowski. “These are observational results, but they are also supported by randomized clinical trial evidence from the Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification trial where, in a randomized clinical trial setting, adopting a low-fat dietary pattern that was associated with a similar magnitude of weight loss resulted in a significant improvement in breast cancer overall survival. These findings, taken together, provide strong correlative evidence that a modest weight loss program can impact breast cancer.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A visual abstract is available to use in your coverage of this study.

Additional Information

NOTE: The information contained in this release is protected by copyright. Please include journal attribution in all coverage. A free abstract of this article will be available via the Cancer News Room upon online publication. For more information or to obtain a PDF of any study, please contact:

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Full Citation:

“Weight Loss and Breast Cancer Incidence in Postmenopausal Women.” Rowan T. Chlebowski, Juhua Luo, Garnet L. Anderson, Wendy Barrington, Kerryn Reding, Michael S. Simon, JoAnn E. Manson, Thomas E. Rohan, Jean Wactawski-Wende, Dorothy Lane, Howard Strickler, Yasmin Mosaver-Rahmani, Jo L. Freudenheim, Nazmus Saquib, and Marcia L. Stefanick. CANCER; Published Online: October 8, 2018 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.31687).

URL Upon Publication: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/cncr.31687

Author Contact: City of Hope Media Relations, at media@coh.org or +1 800-888-5323.

About the Journal
CANCER is a peer-reviewed publication of the American Cancer Society integrating scientific information from worldwide sources for all oncologic specialties. The objective of CANCER is to provide an interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of information among oncologic disciplines concerned with the etiology, course, and treatment of human cancer. CANCER is published on behalf of the American Cancer Society by Wiley and can be accessed online at http://wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/cancer.

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About Wiley
Wiley is a global leader in education and scholarly research. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, combined with our digital learning, assessment and certification solutions help universities, learned societies, businesses, governments and individuals increase the academic and professional impact of their work. For more than 210 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

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Contact:

Dawn Peters (US) +1 781-388-8408
Newsroom@wiley.com
Follow us on Twitter @WileyNews

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