Monday, July 17, 2006

Weight Gain and Cancer

Here's an interesting release from WebMD via FoxNews:
It is increasingly clear that maintaining a healthy weight throughout adulthood is one of the best things women can do to protect themselves against breast cancer. that weight gain during adulthood is a strong risk factor for breast cancer. Researchers also found that weight loss after menopause helped lower breast cancer risk. Gaining 55 pounds or more after age 18 was associated with a 45 percent increase in breast cancer risk after menopause over women who maintained a healthy weight throughout their 20s, 30s, and 40s.

Apparently, the reason for the connection between weight gain and cancer has to do with increased estrogen circulation in the body after menopause when one weighs more than she should.
Estrogen fuels the growth of most breast cancers. All women produce estrogen during their reproductive years primarily by the ovaries. But after menopause, circulating estrogen levels drop dramatically and the main estrogen source comes from the body’s fatty tissue. The more body fat a woman has after menopause the more estrogen she will have circulating.

The researchers estimate that for all the women included in their study, 15 percent of breast cancer cases may be linked to a gain in weight of 4.4 pounds or more since age 18, and 4.4 percent of cases for similar weight gain since menopause.

For women who didn’t use postmenopausal hormones, the percentages were 24 percent for weight gained since age 18 and 7.6 percent for weight gained since menopause.

But they also found that the biggest gainers often had the most aggressive cancers.

I wonder if they've compared this study with the last one I cited about the relationship between light at night and beast cancer. Since the above study was conducted on nurses, chances are good that a significant proportion worked at night thereby being exposed to light at night and suffering from disrupted sleep cycles. The reason I ask is because I had recently seen a study about the link between insomnia and weight gain, although as I type here in the middle of the night, I make a mockery of that statistic. (Of course, I'd rather be asleep than mocking anything!) How many of the overweight nurses that suffered from cancer also worked at night or otherwise were affected by disrupted sleep cycles?

I'm also a little concerned about this expectation that one should weigh within four pounds of her college freshman year weight (18 years of age) until menopause. How many people actually weigh within four pounds of their college entrance weight through their forties? That just seems a stiff expectation. Personally, there is no way I could ever weigh that again, nor would I want to. I'm happier the way I am now, quite frankly.

Well, I'm going to try to catch some zzzz's now myself. Here's hoping that I've remained coherent and lucid throughout this post. Hope all of you are sleeping well, keeping your weight down and otherwise snubbing your noses at yet another study over which we're supposed to worry. Please don't lose any sleep over it.


At 7/17/2006 1:40 PM, Blogger Donviti said...

i heard something that with girls the later they have their period the less the chance they have of cancer. Said that girls are having it younger and younger and it may be due to a sedintary lifestyle now so prevalent in American kids these days....


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