"Baby Fat" & Breast Cancer Risk
"Significant weight gain during pregnancy may cause changes in breast tissue that increase susceptibility to breast cancer in later life..."
One of the main complaints of new mom's is the fact that the weight they gain during pregnancy is hard to lose. Breast cancer research may provide some additional reasons to get busy exercising.
A new study adds more incentive than looking good to the push to shed those extra pounds. It seems that the risk of breast cancer after menopause is three times higher for women who add 50 pounds during pregnancy and fail to lose it after the baby is born.
A team from the Lombardi Cancer Center in Washington and in Finland also found that a pregnancy weight gain of 40 pounds leads to a 40% increased risk of breast cancer.
"Significant weight gain during pregnancy may cause changes in breast tissue that increase susceptibility to breast cancer in later life-roughly equivalent to the risk of postmenopausal obesity," said Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, PhD, one of the study's investigators and associate professor of oncology at the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center. "Women who retain the added pounds after pregnancy are at the greatest risk."
Gaining in the range of 25 to 35 pounds is normal in pregnancy. The study found that this normal weight gain does increase the risk for breast cancer.
The amount of body fat and weight gains during pregnancy have been linked to higher estrogen levels. This is thought to create the increased risk. Professor Jane Wardle, Cancer Research UK, added the statistic that for each kilogram -- or 2.2 lbs -- that a woman gains during pregnancy, the breast cancer risk rises by about 4% when adjusted for a woman's body mass before pregnancy.
The findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting in San Francisco.
Source: Georgetown University Medical Center
Also see in Resources -> Breast Cancer, Diet & Nutrition
Breast Cancer & Pregnancy
Elsewhere on the Web:
Breast Cancer Risk for Large Mums
May 12, 2002
Last Updated August 1, 2006