Losing weight can help lower the risk of developing breast cancer in the post-menopausal stage

Women, please take a note. Losing weight can help lower the risk of developing breast cancer in the post-menopausal stage, a new study has found.

The study, published in the journal CANCER, found that among post-menopausal women, participants who lost weight had a lower risk of developing invasive breast cancer than those who maintained or gained weight.

"Our study indicates that moderate, relatively short-term weight reduction was associated with a statistically significant reduction in breast cancer risk for postmenopausal women," said co-author Rowan Chlebowski from the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California.

Although obesity has been strongly related to breast cancer risk, studies examining whether weight loss might reduce postmenopausal women's risk have provided mixed results, the researchers said.

For the study, the research team analysed information on 61,335 women participating in the World Health Initiative Observational Study who had no prior history of breast cancer and had normal mammogram results.

The participant's body weight, height and body mass index were assessed at the start of the study and again three years later.

The team found that during an average follow-up of 11.4 years, there were 3,061 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed.

"These are observational results, but they are also supported by randomised clinical trial evidence from the Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification trial where, in a randomised clinical trial setting, adopting a low-fat dietary pattern that was associated with a similar magnitude of weight loss resulted in a significant improvement in breast cancer overall survival," Chlebowski said.

"These findings, taken together, provide strong correlative evidence that a modest weight loss programme can impact breast cancer," he noted.

Ians