Body fat, hormones and breast cancer

November 26, 2014 6:03 AM

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Body fat, hormones and breast cancer

Obesity is a known risk factor for breast cancer. Excess weight increases the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer and is associated with higher-grade tumors and poorer survival after diagnosis. Body fat is now recognized as more than just extra stored energy; it is an active endocrine organ. Fat tissue produces hormones and other chemical messengers that affect other areas of the body and promote cellular events leading to chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Fat tissue, since it produces estrogen, increases the body’s exposure to the hormone. More body fat means higher estrogen levels, and weight loss is known to decrease circulating estrogens in women. Higher cumulative estrogen exposure is another known factor linked to increased breast cancer risk. E...

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