Obesity as a Risk Factor of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disorder. Altered lifestyle with sedentary work and consumption of high calories leading to excess body weight could be very important and significant risk factor for the surge of cases of breast cancer. Overweight and obese women are at risk of developing breast cancer. Weight reduction is a potentially modifiable risk factor in overweight and obese women. In comparison to lean women, post-menopausal overweight women have 10-20% and obese women have 30% more risk to develop breast cancer. Body mass index, waist circumference, and waist: hip ratio are commonly studied anthropometric indices of obesity as risk factors for breast cancer. Studies involving Indian population have reported inconclusive data about these parameters. Central obesity is a major strong risk factor for breast cancer in women with normal BMI irrespective of menopausal status. Several biological mechanisms like altered metabolic, hormonal, inflammatory and immunological pathways have been proposed to link obesity with breast cancer development and progression. Achieving ideal healthy body weight should be the goal to prevent occurrence, recurrence of breast cancer and mortality in overweight and obese women.

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