According to a new study, more needs to be done to treat those with both breast cancer and obesity.
The study, which reveals a breast cancer and obesity link, shows that obesity is to blame for changing the stiffness of breast fatty tissues. The change in tissues encourages tumor growth, according to the study, and the tumors in stiff tissue are more likely to turn malignant than tumors which develop in less fatty tissue.
The breast cancer and obesity study was published in the Science Translation Medicine journal on August 17.
The study was conducted using both humans and mice. The human research came through the examination of breast tissues from cancer patients, and obese mice were used to test the link between breast cancer and obesity. Researchers were able to discover a link between stiff breast tissue cells and a chemical change on the cellular level. That chemical change led to an increased malignant tumor percentage, according to the study.
In addition to the link between breast cancer and obesity, the study also found that weight loss can help reverse some of the affects of breast cancer. When the obese lab mice were put on a diet their health and cancer challenges dramatically improved.
The study has helped researchers to better understand what is happening on a cellular level when obese women are diagnosed with breast cancer. The additional information can help doctors and researchers develop treatments that could be more effective for overweight women.
According to Cancer.gov, obesity is a leading cause in not just breast cancer, but many other types of cancer as well. In 2007, for example, more than 50,000 women with obesity were diagnosed with some form of cancer. That's more than seven percent of all females diagnosed with cancer.
Though breast cancer and obesity are linked closely, another form of women's cancer is linked even more closely with obesity. Nearly 40 percent of all women diagnosed with endometrial cancer are obese, the website reports.
The website also notes that the chances of obesity impacting a breast cancer diagnoses could have something to do with the phase of life during which a woman becomes obese.
"The relationship between obesity and breast cancer may be affected by the stage of life in which a woman gains weight and becomes obese. … Weight gain during adult life, most often from about age 18 to between the ages of 50 and 60, has been consistently associated with risk of breast cancer after menopause."Both the study and Cancer.gov note that researchers are working to find more information that reveals breast cancer and obesity links. Armed with more information, researchers believe they will be better able to treat women afflicted with breast cancer.
For information about ways to lower the risk of breast cancer and obesity, check out the video below.
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