Every 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and 81% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are over the age of 50 at the time of diagnosis. To add fuel to the fire, a new study has found that older women who carry extra body fat are at an increased risk of breast cancer, despite weighing normally. Don’t get confused now. Body fat and body weight are entirely different concepts that are being used inappropriately. Read more on weight loss, fat loss and the difference between the two at www.firsteatright.com.
Fat Not Weight Must Be Your Primary Concern
Women focus on weight and body physique instead of looking at overall health. It is high time that women change their perception and concentrate on fat loss with healthy diet and proper exercise to prevent the increased risk of breast cancer.
Past research has proved that obese/overweight women are at an increased risk of breast cancer after menopause. But, physicians rely on BMI readings to decide whether individuals are obese, overweight, normal or underweight. BMI readings do not distinguish between fat, muscle and bone and therefore, stay as an imprecise tool for body composition analysis. We are becoming increasingly aware of these downsides of BMI and hence, use of BMI to indicate an individual’s risk of heart disease or type 2 diabetes is avoided. As far as this study is concerned, even breast cancer should be included in the list of diseases that cannot be gauged based on BMI values alone.
But why is body fat a primary concern for breast cancer? Fat is an active tissue that experiences shortages in blood supply when there is excess deposit of fat tissue. Fat cells start dying, inflammation happens, and substances called growth factors are stirred that have the potential to cause cancer too. Estrogen, the female sex hormone, is primarily produced from fat in postmenopausal women.
On a practical note, it is easier for women to check their weight on the weighing scale instead of taking pain to get their body fat levels measured. But, if you are really concerned about being healthy and living disease-free, it is better that you keep your body fat within permitted limits.
The study is based on 3,460 women aged between 50 and 79 years who had a normal BMI. All of them had their body fat measured with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry or DXA (complete body scan that reveals body composition). After 16 years, 182 women developed breast cancer and most of them had tumors that were fueled by estrogen supply.
The study found that:
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.