Fat Link to Breast Cancer accoding to scientific advisor

The hormone oestrogen “fuels” a large proportion of breast cancer cases, and overweight women tend to have higher levels of oestrogen, heightening their risk of developing and dying from breast cancer, according to Will Williams, scientific advisor for the All About Weight organisation.

Mr Williams was commenting on an Oxford University study funded by Cancer Research UK, involving thousands of post-menopausal women, which has revealed “just what a huge influence your weight has on your risk of developing breast cancer”.

Mr Williams warned that the study “quantifies obesity as being the most important of the three modifiable risk factors for breast cancer – the other two being alcohol and smoking”.

In the British Journal of Cancer the study researchers explain that one in eight women in the UK develop breast cancer during their lifetime, and it has been ascertained that in most cases the cancer is down to hormone levels. Women with high levels of oestrogen and testosterone have a far higher risk of breast cancer – and the levels of these hormones are increased if there is too much fat stored in the body.

“It was found that women with a BMI (body mass index) of 25 or more had higher levels of hormones and also a higher risk of certain breast cancers,” said Mr Williams.

It is not only overweight women at risk, according to Mr Williams. The excess fat carried by men also disrupts hormones, reducing levels of testosterone, and therefore overweight men are also at higher risk of developing breast cancer.

“Scientists now accept that fat tissue is not a benign energy store, as was previously believed. When you carry a lot of fat it functions as a very active endocrine organ, which means it produces hormones and other signalling molecules that promote inflammation. This not only contributes to a variety of health problems, but also can make it easier to keep gaining weight, and ever harder to lose it.”

Losing potentially deadly fat is, however, possible at any age, and the benefits extend into all realms of life beyond improving health and lowering the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease according to  Mr Williams.

“To lose weight you must consume fewer calories than you expend. This means a low calorie diet has the largest effect on weight loss initially, but exercise also has a vital role to play,” said Mr Williams, who is a registered dietitian.

He explained that the best approach to losing weight was to keep motivated, and this needs a structured programme balancing a low calorie diet with supportive mentoring and appropriate physical activity.

“As the pounds drop off, so motivation and health improves – it’s a win-win situation,” he said. “I hope the latest breast cancer research will encourage all those people at risk to take that first step towards a healthier future.”

For more information about how to lose weight quickly, safely and successfully visit www.allaboutw8.co.uk.