According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, middle to older aged women who lost weight had a reduced breast cancer risk compared to overweight women.
The research analyzed more than 180,000 women 50 years of age and older from 10 unique studies. The women’s weight was taken at the beginning of the study, after five years, and then four years later.
The results revealed that there was a lower risk of breast cancer in those women who continued with weight loss than in the women who remained the same. Also, the risk was lower when there was a greater amount of sustained weight loss.
The women who lost 4 to 10 pounds had a 13% lower risk compared to the women who didn’t lose weight. Others who lost 10 to 20 pounds had a 16% lower risk, and women who lost 20 to 30 pounds had a 26% reduced risk of developing breast cancer. According to the study, the women who lost 20 or more pounds still had a reduced risk even if they gained some weight back.
“Our results suggest that even a modest amount of sustained weight loss is associated with lower breast cancer risk for women over 50, 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,” said Lauren Teras, Ph.D., the study’s lead author.
According to the American Cancer Society, this is the first study with a large enough sample size to examine the relationship between sustained weight loss and breast cancer risk with “statistical precision.” Although the correlation between weight and breast cancer risk is complicated, if you’re overweight after menopause, you may have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.