Obesity increases risk of breast cancer among Latinas and black women, studies say

Obesity is a topic where no good can be said or heard of. It is a condition linked to so many diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases, and gallstones, among others. With more studies on obesity being undertaken by scholars in countries where obesity is rampant, more illnesses are discovered to be associated with the condition, including a common type of cancer among women.

Two separate research investigations found that obesity increases the risk of certain breast cancer types in postmenopausal Hispanic and Black women. More than one in two black women and nearly one in two Hispanic women in the United States are said to be obese.

The first study, published October 30 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, found that being overweight or obese increased the risk for estrogen receptor-negative and progesterone receptor-positive breast tumors among postmenopausal Hispanic women. About 3,200 Hispanic women participated in the study.

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The other study,which included more than 15,000 black women, found that being overweight increased postmenopausal women's risk of breast cancer by 31 per cent. The risk was also higher among black women who just gained weight in adulthood.

The researchers said that while breast cancer could affect women of any age, the disease is more common among postmenopausal women.

Study author Esther John, a senior research scientist at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, said,  "This has huge implications for not just Hispanics but all women. We cannot change genetics or family history, but we can do something about obesity. You can eat less, choose healthier foods and do more physical activity. It may not be that easy but it's possible. And it's important for not just lowering breast cancer  risk but for many other diseases."

Meanwhile, the second research's study author Dr. Elisa Bandera of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, said, "We know that breast cancer has several subtypes and there is growing evidence that these subtypes have different risk factors. The distribution of these subtypes and risk factors are different for African Americans and Hispanics compared to white women."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the most common cancer (excluding skin cancer) in women in the United States is. It is also the most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women, and the second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women. In 2011, around 220,097 women in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer.

While breast cancer could be a challenging disease affecting many women today, preventive measures like watching out over one's diet, getting regular exercise, smoking less, etc. are good ways to help us be less likely to be hit by any disease in general. 

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